The campus carry law will go into effect at Texas Tech and other public universities across Texas on August 1. One Lubbock gun shop is catering some of their inventory to the new law.
Sharp Shooters Gun and Knife has been stocked with Vertex holster backpacks for the past few weeks.
“We started picking up Vertex and a few other lines to accommodate for campus carry when Texas Tech and a few other places across the country started getting real serious about allowing [campus carry] in universities,” Clay explained. “It’s a pretty cool line, it’s a bag where you’re able to get inserts that are completely modular, you can put a flashlight in it or you could wrap it around the gun. What it’s designed to do is you stick it to the inside sleeve of the bag with the Velcro backliner.”
With a simple shake test for EverythingLubbock.com, Clay showed that the gun will stay in place in it’s holster.
Clay explained that for people on the Tech campus, the backpack will be especially useful because the campus carry law stipulates that only license-holding individuals with concealed weapons are authorized to carry. He added that the bags are extremely sturdy and can be used as shields if supplemented with ceramic plates.
In the past few weeks since Clay first stocked the backpacks, he said the store has sold ” a lot.”
Clay is a Texas Tech graduate and he wished that as a student he had the opportunity to use backpacks like these on campus.
“It’s a pretty cool product and a pretty cool bag to get on the market,” he said.
But he acknowledged that not everyone in Lubbock or the Texas Tech community will be comfortable with campus carry, or the backpacks he’s selling.
“The concern I understand, but you have to understand the statistics of CHL holders and LTC holders committing crimes are very low,” Clay said.
The DPS statistics from 2014 on convictions of CHL holders largely confirm Clay’s argument.
A Texas Tech spokesperson confirmed that these backpacks would comply with the proposed campus carry policies that would take place for Red Raiders in August. These backpacks are one of several options students have to enter classrooms or offices wearing concealed weapons.
But not all students are excited about their peers carrying concealed weapons, in backpacks or anywhere else.
“It honestly makes me a little nervous, there’s always accidents whether you throw your backpack down, throw the safety off, or if somebody grabs your backpack,” she said. “There’s no guarantee that if somebody grabs your backpack that it’s gonna be safe.”
Davault said she grew up on a farm and was around guns often. But even for people who follow gun safety measures, she’s seen accidents happen.
“I’ve had friends whose dads have lost their lives and they know how to work guns,” Devault said. “You know accidents do happen and I think a way to prevent that would be not having guns on campus.”
Devault admitted that while campus carry makes her nervous, she would be more comfortable knowing that her gun-carrying peers had their guns securely holstered in backpacks as opposed to loose in their backpacks.
Texas Tech graduate student Tanner Jerrett is a licensed gun owner and, if possible with his on-campus job, he would like to carry his weapon on campus next fall. But he expects he will carry his gun on his person as opposed to in a backpack.
“I think [the backpacks] are an alright idea, one of the big things I see a problem with though is if you set down your back pack and walk away it’s very easy for someone to steal it,” Jerrett said.
But Jerrett said he would feel totally safe if his gun-carrying classmates decided the backpack was the best method for them to carry their weapons on campus.
“For the CHL (now LTC) process in Texas they have to go to classes, have to do background checks, I feel like they thoroughly check to make sure you’re alright,” Jerrett said of his own experience with the classes.
Jerret’s undergraduate friend Jack Clark recently turned 21 and is looking into getting his LTC.
“I’d consider [using the backpack] for sure,” Clark said. “There’s hundreds of different types of holsters or ways you could concealed carry for all different kinds of wardrobes as well. I have looser fitting clothing right now, that may not hold up to some of the types of holsters that are on the market. Especially on a college campus there might be a lot of shorts and t-shirts, so having that backpack would be an advantage in certain situations.”
Clark said he still has to weigh out the advantages and disadvantages or carrying his weapon in a backpack.
“I will definitely do my research on those backpacks but I’d absolutely consider getting one,” he said.