Fifty years ago, American changed forever after an unprecedented mass shooting at the University of Texas. This week, Texas marked the anniversary with a new law that allows students to carry guns with them around campus.
At 11:48 a.m. on Aug. 1, 1966 Charles Whitman, a 25-year-old engineering student and Marine veteran, carried out the first “mass shooting” in American history, killing 14 people and wounding more than 30 others over a 96-minute spree. He shot using a sniper rifle from the observation deck of the UT Tower. On Monday, the fiftieth anniversary of the worst tragedy in UT Austin’s history, the university honored the memory of the victims by unveiling a new six-foot-tall red granite memorial near the tower, according toThe New York Times. They also started complying with state law allowing concealed carry inside university buildings.
The law was seen as a victory for gun rights proponents, who don't think guns should be restricted anywhere and believe students carrying guns could help keep campuses safer. However, opponents argue that putting more guns on campus will simply provide more opportunities for people to get shot. Meanwhile, some were unsure how to feel about the law going into effect on the anniversary of a horrific campus shooting.
“I’m glad that we aren’t letting the implementation of campus-carry mask the importance of that date,” UT Student Body President Kevin Helgren told the Times. “But I do think it was pretty insensitive of the Legislature to decide that Aug. 1 was when it would go in effect.”