On September 16, Director of Public Safety Chief Pauley held one of possibly many open forums discussing the new campus carry law passed and signed by Governor Greg Abbott. This new law gives students who hold a concealed handgun license the access to carry on campus. The bill also gives the CEO; or Chancellor of public universities the power to establish rules for their specific universities. Individual universities can regulate rules on where concealed handguns are welcome, commonly known as “gun-free zones.” However, universities cannot designate the entire campus as a “gun-free zone.” Although this new law allows holders of CHLs to carry on campus, they must not have their gun visible in any way.
This law gives universities a timeline of dates to propose their plan for how they will be putting this law into effect. By January 2016, a task force must submit a draft of the proposal to the state. In February 2016, the task force will present a progress report to the Board of Regents, and in May 2016 ,they will present a final proposal to the Board. By August 2016, all universities are expected to be in compliance with the law and carry out their plans.
One of the biggest concerns brought up in the campus carry forum was how the university is going to coordinate with housing. People who have a CHL have the right to confidentiality. However, students who are living in the dorms may have concerns with whether or not their roommate has a CHL. Also, there have been suggestions that dorms should be provided with gun safes. Even if someone does not have a CHL and a handgun, these safes could also be beneficial for things such as important personal belongings and documents, phones, keys, money and other valuables.
Penal code 30.06 within the new law states that there must be signage that states where concealed handgun license holders are prohibited. The guidelines for the signage are as follows: letters must be bolded, 1-inch thick, black, and presented in both English and Spanish. Signage must be placed at all entrances and exits of “gun-free zones.”
Before August of next year, there will be much discussion as to how TWU will go about the new campus carry law. Chief Pauley stated in last Wednesday’s forum that it is highly likely that there will be more forums held throughout the school year.