Submitted and written by Tristan Dorn
Among the recent gun violence in the United States, many people have become more concerned about gun safety, gun law regulations, and the changing atmosphere of firearm culture. Within this discussion was a bill passed, popularly known as “Campus Carry.” This is formally known as Texas Senate Bill 11.
The Texas Legislature website describes this bill as “relating to the carrying of handguns on the campuses of and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education; providing a criminal penalty” (Birdwell et al., 2015). Should we be worried about a bill that allows handguns on a college campus? To many college students, parents, faculty, and staff, this is an alarming question. So, let us become educated on this bill in order to ensure our rights and be aware of the protections afforded to us under the new legislation.
NBC news breaks down the law into layman’s terms by stating that “the state’s controversial ‘campus carry’ law allows students who are at least 21 years old and who have a concealed handgun license to carry their guns at all public colleges and universities” (Lee, 2016 ). This move was motivated by a desire to deter campus shootings and to protect students in the classroom. However, this same law is also allowing students to bring weapons into academic buildings with rooms filled with closely packed students. Those who oppose the bill fear that it may encourage violence on campus, rather than act as a defensive mechanism.
How does this affect Texas students? NBC news reports that “officials at the University of Texas say the new law will likely only include a small number of students, given that students must be of a certain age. The university estimates that less than 1 percent of its students fit the criteria” (Lee, 2016). The University of Texas- Austin is adamantly against the bill and lobbied against the bill before it was passed by Texas Governor, Gregg Abbott. To appease this dissatisfaction expressed by Texas University, the law has stated that places of higher education are required to create regulations regarding concealed carry on certain premises and the storage of handguns in residential facilities under the ownership of the university (Texas Department of Public Safety).
What about UTD students? How does this bill affect us? First and foremost, in response to the legislation’s supporters, UTD clearly states that there is no expectation or obligation for a concealed carry license holder to defend themselves or others in the event of an active threat on campus (University of Texas at Dallas).
There are some locations on campus where concealed carry is prohibited. These locations are outlined on UT Dallas’s campus carry website, linked blow.
It is important to note that open carry of weapons is still prohibited on college campuses. If you see a weapon on campus, alert the police by calling 911.
The University of Texas at Dallas has outlined basic information regarding the campus carry legislation on their website, http://www.utdallas.edu/campuscarry/
Birdwell, Bettencourt, Burton, Campbell, Creighton, Eltife, Estes, … Van, T. (2015, June 13). Bill: SB 11.
Lee, T. (2016, August 1). New Texas Law Allows College Students to Carry Guns on Campus. NBC News.
Texas Department of Public Safety. (n.d.). New laws for Handgun Licensing Program (Formerly known as
Concealed Handgun Licensing). Retrieved from http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/chl/legal/newlegislation.htm
University of Texas at Dallas (n.d.). Campus Carry Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from