If you don’t live in Texas, you might be led to believe that our residents are walking around everywhere carrying guns. Indeed, Texas does have among the most permissive gun laws in the country.
In fact, Texas even has a “campus carry” law that allows those who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun just about anywhere on a college or university campus – including classrooms, dorms, libraries and other buildings. However, each campus can set its own rules as long as areas where guns are not permitted are clearly stated. However, under state law, they aren’t allowed at sporting events or in university hospitals.
There are restrictions for obtaining a license to carry a handgun. For example, you must be 21 or older (18 or older if you’re in the military). You must take and pass a course that includes gun range training. Some people who have felony and certain misdemeanor convictions on their records or a history of mental illness may be prohibited from obtaining a license.
Public and community colleges are required to allow concealed carry (meaning the weapon must be in a holster and not visible). Private schools have the option to ban weapons if they choose.
Ironically, what is widely considered the first mass shooting in the U.S. occurred at the University of Texas (UT) Austin when a student who was also a Marine sniper climbed up to the clock tower and started firing — killing or injuring dozens. Those who have advocated allowing handguns on college campuses have pointed to other mass shootings on UT campuses, as well as the 2007 killings at Virginia Tech.
If your college student wants to carry a handgun on a UT or other Texas campus, it’s crucial to understand not only the state law but the regulations of their individual school. For example, at UT Austin, there are specific types of buildings where guns are not allowed. As far as residence halls, they are only permitted in “common areas, such as lounges and study areas.”
If you or a loved one is facing a weapons-related charge, you need to take it seriously. Experienced legal guidance is crucial.