At a Tier One university like the University of Texas at Austin, picking the right classes can be the deciding factor between academic success or failure.
The night before registration opens, students exchange messages and read online reviews, looking for answers to the most common questions about each professor: Are his exams difficult? Does he grade on a curve? Has he ever been convicted of strangling a loved one with his bare hands?
That last question is perhaps unique to UT-Austin, where—according to an investigation by the Austin American-Statesman—a university official chose to keep College of Pharmacy Professor Richard A. Morrisett on staff, without sanction, after he “pleaded guilty to a felony charge of strangling his girlfriend to the point that she saw ‘stars'” and “violated a policy requiring employees to notify a supervisor of criminal charges.”
It is worth noting that, in addition to being a doctor of pharmacology and a convicted felon, Richard Morrisett is a member of the anti-campus carry organization Gun Free UT. His name appears on the organization’s list of supporters.
Let that sink in. A violent felon on the UT-Austin faculty wanted to maintain a status quo that meant every law-abiding student in his classroom would be defenseless in the event of attack. That level of irony might impress even the 76 English professors who signed their names to Gun Free UT’s petition.
If you are saying to yourself that it’s unfair to paint the entire anti-campus carry movement with the actions of one anti-campus carry professor, you are right. But that is objectively fairer than the anti-campus carry movement’s efforts to paint law-abiding license to carry (LTC) holders with the actions of unlicensed criminals.
Groups like Students for Gun Free Schools and the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus (CKGOC) frequently claim that a 2002 study by the Harvard School of Public Health “found that students who have a firearm at college are more likely to binge drink, drive a motor vehicle after binge drinking, use illegal drugs, vandalize property, and get into trouble with the police.” They conveniently fail to note that the study looked at students who had guns on campus ILLEGALLY.
Earlier this month, the CKGOC issued a report titled, “Incidents on Campus in States That Allow Guns on Campus (as of 1.1.18).” It cites three violent crimes committed by unlicensed criminals who were ILLEGALLY carrying guns on campus but no violent crimes committed by concealed license holders who possessed their firearms in compliance with state law and school policy.
Groups like Gun Free UT can claim that Professor Morrisett does not represent their organization, but they cannot deny that he is a member. As for the other group with a stake in this debate—carefully vetted concealed license holders—Dr. Morrisett’s criminal record disqualifies him from ever joining that group.
Micheal Cargill is the owner and founder of Central Texas Gun Works and a guest columnist for “Down Range with AWR Hawkins.”