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Some Texas professors warn guns in classes threaten free speech

Some professors at the University of Houston warn a new gun law threatens free speech and safety on campus
Texas college gun law raising questions and concerns 02:47

Some professors at the University of Houston warn a new gun law threatens free speech and safety on campus. Texas is the eighth state to allow concealed weapons at public universities under a law signed last June.

Starting August 1, if you have a proper permit for a gun, you can bring it with you to class on the 40,000 student campus, reports CBS News correspondent Manny Bojorquez.

Professors and staff at the University of Houston are targeting guns on campus where concealed carry will be allowed later this year.

"It's an uncomfortable position to be in, but it's a discussion that faculty need to have," professor Jonathan Snow said.

During a recent University of Houston faculty meeting, staff discussed how to teach when some students could be carrying concealed weapons. Among the suggestions: "be careful discussing sensitive topics," remove "certain topics from the curriculum" and to "not go there if you sense anger."

Snow compiled the guidelines presented at the meeting.

"This is the law, it will happen. So what can you do?" Bojorquez said.

"There's not very much and this is precisely what we're talking to faculty about," Snow said. "What they absolutely should not do in the classroom, which is express their displeasure at students bringing guns to class. They have to adapt what they're going to do in the classroom."

But some faculty and students say they must implement sensible guidelines while complying with the new law.

"We know there are concerns about safety on campus and we are going to do everything that we can to protect the members of our community," said Marcilynn A. Burke, associate dean of law at the University of Houston.

Sophomore Edwin Mascorro is running for student body president.

"I do not have my concealed carry license yet," he said.

"Will you apply for one?" Bojorquez asked.

"Yes, sir," Mascorro said.

To obtain a handgun license in Texas, applicants must be 21 years old. The initial application fee is $140 and the process requires up to six hours of classroom training, a written exam and shooting test.

"It seems like there are many professors who feel they can't have a robust debate on this topic or any other topic in their classrooms?" Bojorquez asked.

"To say that we're going to snap because we have a debate? No," Mascorro said.

The university is expected to announce its official guidelines next week, including exactly where concealed guns will be permitted on campus.

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