Texas Campus Carry Law Now Includes Community Colleges
The Texas Campus Carry Law was passed in August 2016, allowing four-year public university students to carry a concealed weapon on campus.
As of August 1, Texas community college students with carry licenses can now bring a concealed weapon to campus under the Texas Senate Bill 11, also known as the Campus Carry Law.
Texas is the eighth U.S. state to allow concealed weapons to be carried at all public higher education institutions.
The bill was signed into law on June 13, 2015. It took effect August 1, 2016, allowing four-year public university students to carry a concealed weapon on campus.
Community colleges were given an additional year to prepare for the change, reports USA Today.
Private colleges and universities are exempt from the law.
Captain Joseph Barragan of the El Paso Community College Police Department assures that strict policies will be put place regarding the new law.
For example, the handgun must be worn under clothing or placed in a bag such as a purse that must remain with the owner at all times. It will be illegal to openly show a gun, including in a visible holster.
“Any time there is a new law, it’s our job to be vigilant, to make sure that, first of all, nobody is violating the law,” says Barragan.
There are approximately 28,000 students currently enrolled at El Paso Community College.
Barragan says in light of the new law, the college’s 40 sworn officers have been provided with additional active-shooter training.
Following the bill’s approval, EPCC created a task force and a dedicated website to help inform faculty and students of the impending changes.
The task force also created a document, titled “Campus Concealed Carry Task Force Recommendations”, which outlined rules and regulations the school will implement under the new law. It was approved by the school’s board of trustees in May.
El Paso is one of many community colleges across the state to put up signs designating gun-free zones in areas such as performance halls, child care centers, patient care facilities and athletic events, all of which was outlined in the document.
Martin Renteria, a 25-year-old student at EPCC, says the new law makes him uncomfortable and thinks it will incite violence.
“I understand people need to feel safe, but the majority of people in college aren’t fully emotionally mature yet,” says Renteria. “So, let’s say you give somebody a handgun and what happens when (they) are having relationship problems? I just think the whole thing is a recipe for disaster.”
In the state of Texas, one must be at least 21 years of age to obtain a concealed carry license. There are currently 1.15 million active gun-license holders, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Most applicants who received their license this past fiscal year ranged from ages 43 to 61.
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