Forced to Allow Guns on Campus, UT Adopts 25 New Firearm Policies
A new campus carry law in Texas is forcing universities to adapt to the new reality of people bringing guns onto campus.
As required by a new state law, the University of Texas announced concealed handgun policies for its campus Feb. 17.
The policies, announced by UT President Gregory L. Fenves, outline how firearms must be carried, where firearms are still forbidden and establish a new Campus Carry Implementation Task Force at the university.
The policies are a reaction to a law passed in Texas in May of 2015 that will allow concealed carry permit holders to bring guns onto college campuses starting Aug.1, which is the 50th anniversary of a mass shooting at UT Austin that resulted in the killing of 14 victims and injuring of 32 others. The law was further elaborated on in December by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton announced that public schools cannot ban guns from dormitories or classrooms, although they can make rules for storing the weapons.
Many college officials, including those representing the University of Texas System, strongly opposed the bill as it was debated in the Texas legislature.
The following is a summary of each new UT policy.
Concealed Carry license holders must carry their handguns “on or about their person at all times or secure their handgun in a locked, privately-owned or leased motor vehicle.” The exception is license holders living on campus, who are allowed to store their handguns in a gun safe.
License holders must carry their handguns on campus with a holster that completely covers the trigger and the trigger guard area. The holster must also have “sufficient tension…to retain [the gun] even when subjected to unexpected jostling.”
License holders bringing semiautomatic handguns on campus cannot have a chambered round of ammunition.
The school will list areas on campus that are frequently the site of K-12 sponsored activities on its website, and when those activities are underway, a sign will be posted in the area that reads “Pre-K-12 school sponsored activity in progress.”
License holders cannot bring handguns to polling places on the day of an election. Polling places will have signs that read “Polling Place” or “Vote Here.”
License holders cannot bring handguns on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court unless authorized by the court. A sign will be posted at the entrance of the court or associated offices.
License holders cannot bring handguns into businesses that have Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code licenses if the businesses derive more than half of their income from the sale of alcoholic beverages.
License holders cannot bring handguns to an area where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event is taking place unless the license holder is a participant in that event and a handgun is used in the event. The rule will be printed on event tickets if possible.
License holders cannot bring handguns to “areas for which state or federal law, licensing requirements, or contracts require exclusion exclusively at the discretion of the state or federal government, or are required by a campus accrediting authority.”
License holders cannot bring handguns to patient care areas “including those in which professional mental health services are provided.”