New gun legislation prompts questions

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Photo Credit: Lillian Michel | Daily Texan Staff

If you’re a student, faculty or staff member at UT, you have probably heard about campus carry and open carry on and around college campuses. To clarify the current legislation, we answered frequently asked questions about campus carry and open carry.

Generally, only individuals 21 or older may be licensed to carry a gun.

Campus Carry

  • Note: Final rules regarding campus carry at UT have yet to be established and are subject to review by the UT System Board of Regents, including recommendations from the UT working group.

What is campus carry?

  • Campus carry allows licensed holders to carry concealed handguns on UT campus as established by S.B. 11. License holders may not openly carry weapons on campus. 

When will campus carry take effect?

  • As established by Senate Bill 11, campus carry will take effect on August 1, 2016. 

Where will guns be able to be carried on campus?

  • The law requires UT to establish rules that do not have the general effect of prohibiting weapons on campus. Therefore, guns can be carried in most areas on campus, except gun-free zones.

With these guidelines in mind, the UT working group recommended the prohibition of guns at the following areas:

1. UT Elementary School,

2. Areas where an educational activity sponsored by a K-12 institution is taking place (e.g. school group tour at the Blanton Museum of Art),

3. Patient-care areas (e.g. Counseling and Mental Health Center, University Health Services),

4. Areas where formal hearings take place (e.g. hearings conducted by Student Judicial Services),

5. Areas where the discharge of a weapon could cause great harm (e.g. laboratories with dangerous chemicals).

Will guns be allowed in classrooms?

  • The UT Austin working group recommended allowing guns in classrooms due to concerns about the safety and feasibility of establishing gun lockers on campus. 

Will guns be allowed in dorms?

  • The working group recommended a general ban on guns from residence halls, but some lawmakers and elected officials disagree. Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a legal opinion that universities cannot prohibit guns in dorms.  

How was campus carry established?

  • After passage by the Texas Senate and House of Representatives, Gov. Greg Abbott signed S.B. 11 into law, allowing license holders to carry concealed weapons on campus.

Who can I call if I’m concerned about an armed individual?

  • According to Bob Harkins, associate vice president for campus safety and security, UTPD will always respond to reports of an armed individual. UTPD can be reached in the case of an emergency by calling 911.

Open Carry

  • What is open carry?
  • Open carry allows licensed firearm holders to openly carry weapons in public, with a few notable exceptions.

Where is open carry prohibited?

  • Open carry is prohibited on the premises of college campuses, K-12 schools, businesses that make the majority of their revenue from alcohol sales, hospitals and courthouses.

If you’re carrying a weapon, make sure to check the door of establishments for any gun-related notices before walking in. With proper signage, businesses are allowed to prohibit open carry on their premises. Some businesses on the Drag, such as Sam Computers and Whataburger, prohibit open carry.

When did open carry take effect?

  • Open carry took effect on Jan. 1, 2016.