Beginning this week, community college students in Texas may be carrying more than just textbooks in their school backpacks. They may also be packing heat.
The state’s “campus carry” law officially expanded to community colleges as of Aug. 1, 2017, allowing anyone with a license to carry to take a concealed handgun into most areas on community college campuses. The law went into effect for public universities last year. Here’s what you need to know about Campus Carry in Texas, including answers to frequently asked questions.
What is the Campus Carry Law in Texas?
Campus Carry law, also known as Senate Bill 11, allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns onto the campus of an institution of higher education. Campus Carry in Texas went into effect a year ago on Aug. 1, 2016, for public universities – on the 50th anniversary of the University of Texas sniper shooting. Now, it becomes law at two-year colleges, which were given an extra year to prepare. Private institutions can opt out.
Who can carry a gun under Campus Carry in Texas?
In order to carry a gun on campus, individuals must be 21 years old and have a valid Texas License to Carry, which is still sometimes referred to as a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). This applies to students, teachers, administrators, faculty, and campus visitors. The law does not apply to lower classmen who are not 21 yet.
How can a licensed gun owner carry a handgun on campus?
The firearm must be concealed when carrying on campus, which means it must be hidden in a holster, tucked in a waistband or in a backpack or purse.
Are there areas where carrying a concealed handgun on campus is prohibited?
Yes, the law allows colleges and universities to adopt policies that prohibit license holders from carrying concealed handguns in some areas of campus and to certain events. Places where concealed handguns are prohibited should be outlined in the student handbook. Likewise, signs should be posted at places and events where there are policies prohibiting the campus carry of concealed handguns.
What is “Open Carry?” Is it allowed on college campuses?
“Open Carry” was signed into law on January 1, 2016, which essentially permits licensed gun owners to openly carry a handgun in areas that are not prohibited by law. Institutions of higher learning do not allow open carry. You cannot openly carry a handgun on campus.
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Is Texas the only state that has Campus Carry laws for institutions of higher education?
No. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 10 states have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public post-secondary campuses, including Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin. Additionally, Tennessee allows faculty members with a license to carry weapons on campus but the law does not apply to students or the general public.
Who can obtain a license to carry in Texas?
In general, to receive a license to carry in Texas, you must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be a legal resident of Texas
- Pass a criminal background check
- Receive classroom and shooting range instruction
- Not be a convicted felon
Contact our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys
Varghese Summersett PLLC is a boutique criminal defense firm located in Fort Worth, Texas. Our 10 attorneys handle misdemeanor and felony charges in Texas. If you are facing charges stemming from carrying a firearm or Texas Campus Carry Law, call today for a complimentary strategy session. During this call we will:
- Discuss the facts of your case;
- Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
- Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.
Call: (817) 203-2220
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Also published on Medium.