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UT System institutions present campus carry policies
AUSTIN — The University of Texas System Board of Regents today reviewed rules and regulations for UT institutions that will govern the implementation of Senate Bill 11, also known as the campus carry law, and ultimately took no action. Board Chairman Paul Foster said the board will consider the issue again at its next meeting.
The law, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 1, 2015, provides that license holders may carry a concealed handgun on public university campuses beginning Aug. 1, 2016. The law gives discretion to university presidents to regulate campus carry. However, the law also stipulates that the rules and regulations may not either “generally prohibit” or “have the effect of generally prohibiting” license holders from carrying concealed handguns on campus. Under Texas law, a person must be at least 21 years old to obtain a concealed carry license, therefore many undergraduate students do not qualify to hold a license.
The campus carry law also gives university system governing boards the opportunity to review and modify rules established by the president with a two-thirds majority vote.
Regents discussed three motions that called for:
- Striking the provision in UT Austin’s requirement that a license holder who carries a semiautomatic handgun on campus must carry it without a chambered round of ammunition.
- Revising the UT Austin provision allowing employees to prohibit concealed carry in their offices at their discretion to require approval by the institution’s president if the employee presents a reasonable justification.
- Assuring that all campus policies contain language requiring a license holder to carry the handgun in a holster that completely covers the trigger and entire trigger guard. The holster must have sufficient tension or grip on the handgun to retain it in the holster even when subjected to unexpected jostling.
Ultimately, the board decided to gather more information and discuss the issue at a meeting scheduled for July 13.
The UT System is made up of eight academic and six health institutions and the make-up of the campuses – both in students, mission and physical layout – are very different. The rules presented Thursday were largely similar across campuses with the major difference being the need for special consideration of patient care areas on health campuses.
Most of the policies restrict guns in dormitories, but allow them in apartment style housing generally for older students, and keep them out of laboratories where certain chemicals and flammable materials present a dangerous situation if a gun were to discharge. All campuses prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns at ticketed sporting events. Campus carry is also generally prohibited at:
- On-campus childcare facilities
- Patient care areas, including where mental health services are provided
- Locations where formal disciplinary and grievance hearings are conducted
- Areas in use as a polling place on election day and during early voting.
Here are the policies by campus as submitted to UT System:
- UT Health Science Center at Houston
- UT Health Science Center at San Antonio
- UT Health Science Center at Tyler
- UT Medical Branch at Galveston
- UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
- UT Southwestern
About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 217,000, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates almost two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $16.9 billion (FY 2016) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates – and more than 70,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.