In a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon, American singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne said he was canceling a scheduled show at the University of Texas at Austin’s Bass Concert Hall because of concerns with Texas’ new campus carry law.
LaMontagne, who was scheduled to perform Thursday at 7 p.m., said in his Facebook post that he considers himself a "very open minded human being," but he cannot support the campus carry "ideology." UT-Austin confirmed that he is the first performer to cancel at the school over the law.
"There are a lot of things this country needs more of, but guns aren’t one of them," LaMontagne said. "On behalf of myself and the band, and everyone involved in the tour, I want to express our collective disappointment in the decision to allow guns on campus, and within the campus venue."
According to Austin360, this is the second time LaMontagne has canceled a performance in Austin. Kathy Panoff, Texas Performing Arts director and an associate dean in the College of Fine Arts, referred questions to UT-Austin communications office.
In a statement, UT-Austin spokesman J.B. Bird expressed regret over LaMontagne canceling his performance but respects his right to do so.
He pointed out that state law allows "licensed permit holders to bring concealed handguns into many performance venues on public university campuses, including the Performing Arts Center" at UT-Austin.
In passing the campus carry law, which took effect in August, Texas lawmakers said they were protecting the Second Amendment and helping to make public university campuses safer. Critics say that college campuses would actually become less safe, and that the campus carry law would discourage free discussion in classrooms.
The law applies to people who have concealed handgun licenses. With a few exceptions, you have to be 21 and older and take state-approved training to have a concealed handgun in Texas.
The law has been a controversial one at Texas universities, particularly at UT-Austin where students protested the law with dildos last month.
UT-Austin professors can ban guns from their private offices, but for many that was not enough. Several UT-Austin professors filed a suit this summer seeking to stop implementation of the law, but a federal judge denied their request for an injunction. And in February, Architecture school Dean Fritz Steiner resigned and headed to another university over campus carry.
"I would have never applied for another job if not for campus carry," Steiner told the Tribune then. "I felt that I was going to be responsible for managing a law I didn't believe in."