However, the launch of the state’s new campus-carry law comes with certain strings attached. Basically, here is what you need to know:
First off, the new law doesn’t apply to everyone. Private schools can opt out and community colleges are also not participating for the time being. So, for right now, it only impacts four-year public colleges and universities.
Second, you need a concealed carry permit to lawfully tote a gun on campus. To obtain a permit, you need to be at least 21 years of age (unless active duty military) and you need to have satisfied the state licensing requirements, which includes fingerprinting, submitting an application, taking four to six hours of state-certified training, passing a written exam and paying the requisite fees. For more information on Texas state CCW licensing, click here.
Third, open carry — despite the state’s new open carry law — will not be allowed on campus. You must carry concealed and you must be a permit holder.
Fourth, there are exceptions to the campus carry law for those colleges and universities required to participate. In other words, school officials at these campuses have discretion as to what areas they want to designate “gun-free zones.”
So, for example, while most dorms, classrooms, and buildings will allow one to carry concealed, there will be notable exceptions. For example, some colleges and universities have opted to ban guns in sports arenas, chemical labs, professors’ offices, health care and childcare facilities, among other places.
Prudent permit holders should check their college or university’s website for the specific details on where guns are prohibited.
Lastly, as you’ll see in the video below, reactions to the new law are mixed. Campus-carry purists argue that due to the gun-free exceptions that the law falls short of giving students their full right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. On the other side of the divide, anti-gunners fear that allowing persons 21 and over to bring guns onto campus only endangers the safety of the student body, faculty and staff.