Gov. Greg Abbott signed a senate bill last year that will allow firearm license holders to carry a concealed handgun throughout university campuses.
The bill is Senate Bill 11 and was passed by the 84th Texas Legislature and known as the “campus carry” law. It was signed June 1, 2015 and will take effect Aug. 1.
So what does that mean for Tarleton State University?
First and foremost - “The law does NOT allow open carry on campus,” says the university’s risk management webpage. Though, you can currently conceal carry on campus with the exception of buildings and certain events, said Tarleton’s Chief of Police Matt Welch.
“Open carry is strictly prohibited on campuses. Period. You never could and you can’t now,” Chief Welch said.
“SB 11 deals only with the concealed carry of handguns by people who have a concealed carry license. It is now - and will still be - illegal to display a firearm in campus buildings, or on campus streets, sidewalks, walkways, etc.,” the university’s webpage reads.
To better handle the new legislature and work with the students of TSU, President F. Dominic Dottavio has appointed a Campus Carry Council to consult with students, staff and faculty regarding special factors and considerations in developing Tarleton’s rules and regulations regarding the law.
“We had a committee chaired by Kent Styron, director of risk management. It came up with recommendations, then went through our cabinet, and then went to the board of regents office,” Chief Welch said.
Other universities in Texas have adopted their own rules regarding Senate Bill 11.
The University of Texas’ plan forbids guns in dormitories and keeping a bullet chambered in a semiautomatic handgun while on campus. University of Texas at Arlington faculty will not be able to ban guns from their individual offices, but UT-Austin campus may. Texas Woman’s University will allow guns inside family apartments but not on the playground outside at its Denton campus.
“We looked at campus carry in Utah and Colorado for a number of years and talking to other universities,” Chief Welch said. “They said it was like Y2K, it was really apprehensive at first but didn’t really impact them so much.”
As of now Tarleton’s proposal is scheduled to be considered by The A&M System Board of Regents on April 27. The proposal would prohibit a license holder from carrying a concealed handgun at The Child Development Center, The University Student Counseling Center, The Student Health Center, on the premises of an interscholastic event, specific premises in which formal hearing are conducted, andy premises where the university gives effective notice. More information will be released as it becomes available.