AUSTIN, Texas -- Bob Harkins knows a little bit about the mental, social and philosophical impact of carrying a weapon. The University of Texas' associate vice president, campus safety and security trudged up infamous Hamburger Hill in the bloody 1969 battle that cost 72 American lives during the Vietnam War.

"I spent 27 years in the Army," Harkins said. "I put a round in the chamber when I was fixing to kill somebody. I didn't walk around even in a war zone with a round in my chamber."

On a warm winter morning earlier this year, Harkins made that statement in the context of evaluating Texas' still-new concealed carry law.

It was a year ago this month the state of Texas became the eighth state to allow concealed weapons on its campuses.

In one of the nation's richest athletic departments, campus life got a bit more complicated. Suddenly, there are potentially a lot of rounds in chambers of guns on this renowned campus carried by young, sometimes inebriated, not-yet-fully-mature college students.

The law states students are allowed to carry licensed, concealed weapons on the Texas campus and in certain buildings.

Former coach Charlie Strong had to adjust his core values, which include honesty, treating women with respect and not using drugs or owning guns.

Banning guns is not as simple here or elsewhere as other bedrock principles for coaches. In Kansas, it's theoretically unlawful for coaches to ban guns because of what are the nation's least-restrictive gun laws.

Coaches at the University of Texas may try to ban guns from their program, but they cannot legally ban players from taking them into classrooms.

That bothers some professors.

"Carrying a handgun and the possession handguns is prohibited at all Longhorn sporting events," Texas spokesman John Bianco said. "UT athletics has the discretion to include practices, scrimmages and training session in that exclusion as well. Thus, if a student-athlete is licensed to own a gun, that is their right, but they cannot bring it to the football facilities or at football functions."

Graphic illustration by Michael Meredith

We said it was complicated. Given the tragedies at Columbine, Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech, the question needs to be asked: Why doesn't every coach in the country ban guns right now?

The answer, increasingly: They can't even if they want to.

This state is a good place on which to focus because of its abundance of Division I high school talent. Texas produces about 250 such recruits each year.

"College campuses, they're supposed to be safe places," said Jim Grobe, who spent the last year of his career coaching in Texas at Baylor in 2016.

But long before the current administration took office in Washington, there was a philosophical shift in this country when it comes to gun laws.

In the United States, there are an estimated 300 million firearms, almost one for every person. That's twice the per capita number as 50 years ago.

Texas has had concealed carry laws (that excluded campuses) since 1995. The open carry of guns -- in public places but not on campus -- was allowed beginning January 2016.

"I never really grew up thinking I need a gun for people," said Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington, a Texas native.

Washington is an avid hunter who says he owns about nine guns for that purpose.

"I think most of that is coming from where our world is now. With all those shootings, it really changes people's minds," he added.

The modern debate over campus gun laws may have started here more than half a century ago. On Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman climbed the University of Texas clock tower carrying out what is thought to be the nation's first mass shooting.

"A lot of things came out of that shooting," Harkins said. "If you listen to audio tapes from radio stations here in town, they're saying something to the effect, 'Hey, that old boy is shooting off the tower. Can y'all bring your hunting rifles down and help us get this kid off the tower?'"

Out of that tragedy came the development of SWAT teams and emergency response plans.

Neither Strong nor current Texas coach Tom Herman would comment for this story. Herman is beginning his 16th season in the state as a player or coach.

What was hardly a discussion 10 or 15 years ago now must be accounted for in athletic departments -- and NFL locker rooms -- everywhere.

"I know guys that -- even thought it's against the rules -- put guns in their cars," said Sage Rosenfels, who played quarterback for five NFL teams during an 11-year career. "It was against the rules to put guns in their cars in the parking lot, and they would still do it."

Sociologist and civil right activist Harry Edwards was so incensed at the law that he cut ties with the university that sponsored his lecture series on campus.

"That [law] destroys the very core of educational ethics," said Edwards, who for years was a consultant for the Bill Walsh-led 49ers. "The open discussion and debate concerning critical issues.

"If I'm teaching a class ... and [a student is] reaching down, I don't know whether they're reaching for a pencil or reaching for a gun. I refuse to deal with that.

"This is a horrible situation. In no way does this make any sense."

University of Texas law professor Steven Goode helped craft the campus' response to the law.

"Every time there is a mass shooting, one group of people say, 'We need to work on gun control,'" Goode said.  "Another group of people look at the same event and say, 'This proves more people need to be carrying guns.'"

Meanwhile, since the Texas law was passed a year ago, there have been no gun-related incidents on the Austin campus.

And so it goes. There is a Texas gun culture that goes back before the state's founding in 1845.

"I did take a gun away from a guy one time," said Mike Leach, who spent a decade in the state at Texas Tech. "He was flashing it around at a party. Really, it was just a prop. I said, 'You have one choice: Either I'm going to kick you off the team or you're going to go out to the car and give me the gun and give me the ammunition and I'm never going to see it again.'"

The player never saw the gun again.

Whether that could happen today with the myriad laws and increased attention paid to the Second Amendment is debatable.

"You try to set up your program up with certain core values," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "We've taken the team to church before. Some people think that's wrong."

In the Second Amendment, the so-called "right to bear arms" is a military term rooted in states' ability to drive off Indian tribes or foreign invaders.

Law professor Carl Bogus has suggested the 226-year-old amendment to the Constitution had particular value in the South where states used militias for slave control.

Bogus wrote: "The basic instrument of control was the slave patrol" that would "impress upon the slaves that whites were armed, watchful and ready to respond to insurrectionist activity …"

Try selling that interpretation to Texas State Rep. Allen Fletcher, who sponsored Senate Bill 11.

"Kids don't need a gun on a college campus," said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. "There will never be a solution. My personal opinion is guns are dangerous in college."

Why does anyone need the right to carry a concealed weapon on a campus?

"It's something the NRA has been pushing in state after state," said Goode, who helped craft the school's response to the August 2016 implementation of campus carry. "… I'm deeply skeptical of the claims that this has increased safety at all. There is no data to support that at all."

Players hunt. It's legal if they are of age and properly trained. They can legally own and keep rifles. That has been dealt with for decades among coaches. Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre remembers his time at rural Tennessee-Martin from 1993-96.

"Kids drove around with a gun in the back in their hunting rack," he said. "If we had a game that was open on a hunting Saturday in November, there was nobody there. We'd make sure it was an away game."

Bianco noted that Texas students must be 21 to carry. The majority of Longhorns' athletes would be of age to carry weapons. It is estimated that fewer than one percent of all University of Texas students have licenses.

Applying that filter, Goode estimates only 500 of the 50,000 total Texas students are both the required age of 21 and licensed gun owners.

Grobe had no gun issues during his one season at Waco. However,  he remembers landing one recruit back at Wake Forest who was impressed because "he could squirrel hunt on campus."

Private Texas schools such as Baylor, SMU and TCU are exempt from such state laws. Those universities can ban guns.

"You can't even have a BB gun on our campus or you're going to get written up," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "That solves my dilemmas."

Another Grobe player at Wake, linebacker Zachary Allen, felt threatened when he had a gun pointed at him at a 2012 Christmas party. Allen went out and legally bought a .40 caliber hand gun and filled out the correct paperwork.

After listing his campus address, he was charged with a felony for having a weapon on Wake Forest's private campus. Allen avoided the maximum two-year prison sentence, instead getting probation and community service.

"I was a little miffed because he was 21 and he can have a gun," Grobe said. "But I don't want him to have one. I don't want a kid to feel he's got to use one ever.

"The school suspended him for a semester."

Allen's situation speaks to a larger issue of why players feel like they need to have a hand gun in the first place. Last year, one of Alabama's best players was caught with a stolen gun. He was not prosecuted.

To comply with the least restrictive campus gun laws in the country, University of Kansas officials are in the process of building elaborate screening machines at venerable Allen Fieldhouse. Each machine will be staffed by an armed guard.

"What the hell is my state coming to?" chided Patterson, a native of Rozel, Kansas.

When the first Texas campus carry law went into effect 22 years ago, "[they] were telling me it's going to be blood in the streets. It's going to be terrible," Harkins said. "It wasn't terrible."

The Texas campus, though, is adorned with myriad signs regarding the law. Concealed firearms are allowed in buildings but not near labs that have flammable materials. There are 1,800 such labs on campus. The requirements can change from day to day depending on what materials are being used.

"If somebody wants to come shoot me … having a sign on my door that says they're going to be convicted of trespass if they shoot and kill me in addition to murder probably isn't much of a deterrent," said Goode.

The same goes for warning signs outside Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. It is a Class A misdemeanor to carry a firearm into the 100,000-seat venue.

And if it's about a right to bear arms, why does that right stop at the entrance to a football stadium or -- as the law also states -- student health and patient care facilities?

A similar law recently passed in Georgia allows concealed carry at tailgates but, thankfully, not in campus childcare centers.

Guns were going to be allowed inside Razorback Stadium at Arkansas until the governor signed an amended version of the state's concealed carry law.

Up until that point, guns -- but not umbrellas, as a security measure -- would have been allowed in the stadium.

"It's only a matter of time before the arms race outstrips the campus police's ability to deal with it," Edwards said.

Gundy has been recruiting in Texas for most of his career. His Oklahoma State program feeds off Texas talent. Having to deal with guns in his program hit him about eight years ago.

"That scared me," Gundy said. "… I tell [players] all the time, 'You probably don't know what you're doing. You think you do, but you don't.' In the last six or seven years, I've only been aware of one our own guys that have had [a gun]. We told him to take care of it.

"I'm not naive either. If I have five guys flunk a drug test in a 12-month period, I'm thinking there are probably 15 guys and we only caught five."

Guns are so much a part of the Texas culture that it's easier to get in the Capitol Building in Austin with a handgun than without one.

Licensed gun owners have a dedicated line that allows them to breeze through detectors while the non-gun toting public has to wait.

The incongruity doesn't end there. Last August, students protested the law by hanging dildos from their backpacks. The open carry of sex toys is potentially illegal.

Hidden guns are not.

"Cocks not Glocks," the students chanted.

The issue, Goode said, "seems to have faded into the woodwork."

"When Charlie Strong came, people praised him on his core values and sort of strict discipline," he added. "If he won some more games, they'd still be praising him for it."