"On August 1, 2016, the state of Texas will join six other states in allowing the legal carry of concealed handguns on to institutions of higher education by persons with concealed handgun licenses. After cries for second amendment rights from gun rights advocates, and difficult conversations with the presidents and students of universities, Senate Bill 11 finally reached the governor’s desk and was signed into law June 1st of this year. Now all public (and some private) universities will have to engage the students, faculty, and staff to create a policy with certain “gun free zones” that will best fit the needs of their school (an amendment that was added to the bill after being heard in the house committee).
Many CHL holders and advocates believe that there should be very few zones, if any, where guns are not allowed on campus. Many others try to advocate having a broad range of buildings become gun free zones that may include childcare centers, testing labs, dormitories where there are minors, science labs with dangerous equipment and certain large events. What cannot happen under the law is a full gun ban campus-wide or a certain teacher deciding all of their classes will be gun free. All gun free zones in the school will have to have appropriate signage telling CHL holders they cannot go into this particular area for a gun, similar to the signs that already appear for CHL holders for twenty years now that prevents them from carrying inside hospitals, sporting events, and other private buildings. There will be room for campus carry policy to be updated as buildings transition for new use or are erected overtime. No one will know the full extent of what campus carry will mean for current and future citizens who learn and work on public universities in Texas until this law goes into effect. A long history of CHL holders being law abiding citizens, and the challenges of the diversity of people living and working in Texas might pose potential protection or threat that has not been seen in other states."
Written by Alyssa Wolverton
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