Campus Carry Begins

As of August 1, community colleges have complied with the law, enacted in 2015, allowing licensed carriers of concealed firearms to bring their weapons into most campus buildings. Various media reports indicate a variety of approaches by two-year schools in designating gun-free zones, which are permitted under the law in certain instances.

For a comprehensive look at the issue please read this article by Emma Platoff, in the Texas Tribune.

The state’s public universities implemented the statute a year ago, so community colleges have been able to view the various complications and concerns associated with the prospect of more guns on campus. So far things have been pretty quiet at universities. A law suit filed by three UT-Austin professors, claiming, among other things, that the lawful presence of firearms in their classrooms “chills” free expression of controversial topics, has been rejected by the courts.

Since licensed carriers must be 21, and community colleges enroll a higher proportion of older students, it stands to reason to assume the impact of the law will be greater at two-year schools. However, as pointed out here many times, licensees are among the most law-abiding individuals in our society. As you can read in the article, gun violence on campus in the past was perpetrated by unlicensed individuals. Absent airport-style scanners, there is no practical way to prevent anyone from bringing a concealed weapon to class, or to your office. Such has always been the case.

Some of the most compelling testimony at the Capitol was offered by law enforcement officials concerned about telling the good guy from the bad guy in a chaotic situation. Another concern involves dual credit students, who are legal minors. Here is an interesting article focusing on these students by Lindsay Ellis, in the Houston Chronicle.

TCCTA has argued consistently that institutions should be allowed to decide the issue for themselves, but there is no indication that the Legislature will move in this direction in the foreseeable future. You may have noticed in news reports that local governments are now being told by the state to cease certain activities ranging from regulation of plastic bags, the cutting of trees, texting while driving, and other mundane policies once handled routinely at the local level.

Then there is the “Bathroom Bill,” which would extend the tentacular reach of the Legislature into a domain that would have been unthinkable a few years ago—driven, one must add, by an ideology that decries Big Government.