A campus carry task force convened by the University of Texas system issued a report last week encouraging schools to ban firearms in five types of facilities. The Concealed Carry Working Group suggests administrators at all UT campuses prohibit guns in child-care facilities, patient care areas, sporting venues, laboratories with dangerous chemicals, and animal care areas on campus. They also emphasize that this list is only “a starting point.”
The campus carry law allows institution presidents to establish reasonable gun-free zones based on specific safety considerations, and the uniqueness of the campus environment. Colleges may not, however, establish provisions that generally prohibit or have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders from carrying concealed handguns on the campus.
State law already prohibits firearms in places such as collegiate sporting events. But the task force recommends the bans include areas in which discharge of a firearm might cause widespread harm, such as laboratories with extremely dangerous chemicals, biologic agents, or explosive agents.
The task force did not recommend bans in the two areas of campus that have led to the greatest contention: classrooms and dormitories. In both cases, the group was divided between those who believe that the law’s intent is to explicitly allow concealed carry in those areas, and those who believe that the law empowers schools to impose any restriction short of banning guns from campus completely.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion that the law does not allow either universities or individual professors to ban guns in classrooms or residential buildings. Many believe if institutions attempt to ban guns from classrooms the law will be amended in the next session removing the exemptions.