Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne has canceled his concert at the University of Texas in Austin due to concerns over a new state law that allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on public university campuses. The show was scheduled to take place tonight, September 22nd, at Bass Concert Hall at UT's Performing Arts Center. All tickets for the concert will be refunded at the point of purchase.
"I consider myself to be a very open minded human being, and I always try and see things from another's point of view," LaMontagne wrote on Facebook. "I realize this is a controversial issue and there are strong feelings on both sides of it. But no matter how hard I try to understand the rationale for allowing guns on campus or more broadly, the 'concealed carry' law in general, I just cannot in any way support that ideology. There are a lot of things this country needs more of, but guns aren't one of them."
LaMontagne also noted that he had attempted to work around the new campus gun law, which went into effect August 1st. However, the musician's petition that the event be given special exemption from the law was denied by UT president Gregory Fenves' office over the weekend.
The University of Texas at Austin tells Rolling Stone that it respects LaMontagne's decision, but maintains that under Texas state law, licensed permit holders are allowed to bring concealed handguns into many performance venues on public university campuses, including the school's Bass Concert Hall.
"Under state law, universities must not enact rules that have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders from carrying concealed handguns on their campuses. UT Austin’s rules are designed to comply with state law," a spokesperson from the University says.
LaMontagne has been on the road in support of his latest album, Ouroboros, which features My Morning Jacket's Jim James. He has two more dates left on his tour in Houston and Dallas on September 23rd and 24th.