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campus carry law

Most Community Colleges in Texas Resist Moves to Ban Guns in Classrooms with Minors

By Peek & Toland on July 4, 2017

The controversial campus carry law was enacted in Texas in 2016. It is rolled out to community colleges this year. Despite initial concerns, most community colleges are resisting moves to ban guns in classrooms with minors.

The Texas Tribune noted guns in classrooms with teens under 18 are likely to become the reality this summer.

Some state lawmakers predicted that it would be difficult for community colleges to implement a law that allows concealed handgun license holders to carry firearms on campus. The reason is the presence of minors, a factor not relevant at universities.

The potential hurdle meant Texas legislators allowed the two-year colleges an extra year before the 2015 law went into effect.

On Aug. 1 guns will be legal at numerous community colleges and junior colleges in Texas. The issue is not proving to be as complicated as anticipated.

guns in classrooms are a concern

Guns in classrooms have raised debate

The Tribune reported guns in classrooms are likely to become the reality at most colleges, even when students under 18 are present.

The report noted that Texas still bans guns in its high schools. However, that ban is not going to apply to community college classes with high school students.

The collages are concluding that high school ban does not apply to them. They cite a legal opinion Attorney General Ken Paxton issued. Paxton said schools were not entitled to prohibit guns in all their classes because minors may be present in all classrooms.

Paxton’s said schools are allowed to draw up reasonable rules that consider the “nature of the student population.” He said gun bans could be entertained in classrooms where this is a congregation of minors or locations where childcare services are present.

There are many gray areas in this opinion. Paxton’s views are not legally binding. The attorney general did not spell out what percentage of high school students a class should have before a gun ban can be implemented. The Tribune article said colleges are at liberty to push the boundaries of the law. None have chosen to so far.

Many community colleges are interpreting Paxton’s advice to mean they should only ban guns in classes made up entirely of students under 18.

Guns in Classrooms – Campus Carry was Implemnted in 2016

The campus carry law proved to be controversial when first implemented in 2016. Some academics at the University of Texas in Austin filed a lawsuit about guns in their classes. That legal action failed.

The University of Texas said license holders will “generally be allowed to carry concealed handguns” at the university and at other public universities in Texas. No specific information appeared on the website relating to the right to carry guns in classrooms.

A lack of incidents since campus carry became a reality may have taken the sting out of the issue. In more than six months since guns in classrooms at universities became a reality, there has been just one incident. A student at Tarleton State accidentally fired his gun while in his dorm room without causing injuries.

The lack of clarity at community college level could be problematic. If rules are unclear, students may not know their gun rights and be wrongly arrested. If you are charged with a firearm offense, call our Austin criminal defense lawyers at (512) 474-4445.

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Campus Carry Lawsuit over Guns Is Filed Against University of Texas

By Peek & Toland on October 4, 2016

The right to carry firearms remains a controversial issue in Texas, nowhere less so than at the University of Texas. In Austin, the state’s new campus carry law has sparked a lawsuit from three professors.

Details of the lawsuit are contained in an Inside Higher Ed report. The academics at the university in Austin are alarmed about the law that went into effect on Aug. 1. It allows licensed, concealed weapons on campus.

The professors say they want the right to ban firearms from their classrooms. They fear an upsurge in gun offenses on campus.

Campus carry law sparks lawsuit at University of Texas

The academics are suing the University of Texas over its stance on the state’s campus carry law which allows concealed firearms at the academic institution.

The professors say state law and university policy is vague over the issue of guns in the classroom.

On its website the University of Texas says from Aug. 1 license holders will “generally be allowed to carry concealed handguns” at the Austin university and at other public universities in the state. There is no specific information on the website relating to the right to carry guns in classrooms.

Universities Have Some Discretion over Campus Carry

The “campus carry” law was signed last year by Governor Greg Abbott. UT says on its website that the law gives public universities some discretion over the regulation of campus carry. The university may enact “reasonable rules” over storage and the carrying of guns but it cannot prohibit licensed gun holders from carrying firearms on the campus.

While the intent of this law is clear there seem to be a lot of gray areas that could potentially land people who carry firearms on campus in trouble. Texas has had an open carry law since the start of the year but weapons would have to be concealed on campus. In an earlier blog, we wrote about some of the problems from the open carry law in Texas. A failure of law enforcement officers to adhere to the letter of the law or indeed gray areas in the law itself could land you in jail.

The University of Texas has maintained banning guns from classrooms would mean it was failing to comply with the new law.

To further complicate the picture, the law won’t come into effect at community colleges until 2017.

The campus carry law allows private universities in Texas to opt out of it entirely and many have done so.

The lawsuit claims handgun regulation contains “gaping loopholes” in Texas. The professors say they have been intimidated by students in the past.

At Peek & Toland , we have decades of experience in representing people who have been charged with weapons offenses. Read more from our Austin firearms defense attorneys or call us at (512) 474-4445.

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