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New Texas Gun Law
SB11 • CAMPUS CARRY • Aug. 1, 2016
Government Code 411.2031 is added to regulate discreet sidearm carry by "CHLs" on college campuses, which are now LTCs (License To Carry) under the new Open Carry law.
The Campus Carry law took effect on Sep. 1, 2015 -- but the rules schools had to first make didn't kick in until August 1, 2016, and other conditions apply. The word "college" is used here to mean "institution of higher education" and "private or independent institution of higher education" as defined by law. "Campus" has the meaning assigned by law.
NOTE: What statute says and what actually happens once schools issue required rules may not meet everyone's expectations, so a degree of caution is advised. Some schools, unpleased with the situation, plan to resist it, and you should expect lawsuits, more legislation, budget wrangling and court action. There is little value in becoming a test case.
Statute says an LTC may carry a concealed handgun on a college campus in Texas. Colleges may not adopt any rules banning LTCs from carrying. Colleges may establish rules concerning storing handguns in college dormitories or other college residences on campus. After thoroughly consulting with people concerned at the college, the president or CEO must establish rules concerning carrying on campus and on premises on campus, but these may not ban or have the effect of banning carry. Some school's rules appear to do this. Another section seems to create internal conflict, allowing complete bans, expect confusion.
SB11 (the 2016 Campus Carry law) contains these two conflicting sections.
Section (c) says institutions may not, and section (e) says institutions may
establish rules prohibiting handguns. The exception in (e) apparently renders (c) void.
(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), (d-1), or (e), an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state may not adopt any rule, regulation, or other provision prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on the campus of the institution.
(e) A private or independent institution of higher education in this state, after consulting with students, staff, and faculty of the institution, may establish rules, regulations, or other provisions prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on the campus of the institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by the institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation vehicle owned by the institution.
The rules may be amended as needed, take effect as determined by college leaders or as amended. Effective notice must be provided for any portion of a premises on which LTCs may not carry. The law doesn't say it in so many words, but when the parts are read together, colleges can't ban carry on campus, but can ban storage or carry in dorms. Live-in students would need off-site storage to carry on campus.
No later than 90 days after rules are set (it's not clear if that includes the amendment process), the governing board of the college must review the rules, and may by two-thirds vote amend them, which then become the new rules. The rules must be widely circulated, including on the school's website. By Sep. 1 of each even-numbered year colleges must send reports to the legislature describing its rules and reasons for adopting them.
Exclusion Zones: A private or independent institution of higher education may, after consulting with people involved at the institution, establish rules to ban LTC carry on campus, or grounds or buildings where they are sponsoring an activity, or on a passenger transport vehicle they own. Students must get the lists and obey posted signs that will appear on campuses everywhere. The University of Houston list for example is seven pages long in small type, gets down to room-by-room numbers, and is subject to change.
Government Code §411.208. Colleges (described above, plus people working with and for them) are added to the limited liability clauses of state law, so they are almost immune to lawsuit.
Penal Code §46.03 is amended to omit LTC handgun campus carry as a criminal offense.
Penal Code 46.035 is amended to ban an LTC from intentionally or knowingly displaying a handgun to another person on the premises of a college or facilities around a college (driveways, streets, sidewalks, parking lots, garages, etc.). It's an offense to carry on campus, during a sponsored event, in a student transport vehicle, if the college has established rules banning carry at a sponsored event, if proper §30.06 warning notice is given. It's an offense to carry on the portion of a premises (exclusion zones) where rules ban it, if proper notice is given. The law has punishment for the various violations.
Historical re-enactments are allowed with proper permission, and it is a defense to prosecution if an offense is committed if you would be justified under the use-of-force self-defense laws. The sporting-event ban does not apply if you are not given effective §30.06 notice.
College presidents or CEOs must adopt rules by Aug. 1, 2016, except Junior colleges, which have until Aug. 1, 2017. Add the 90 days for review by the governing board, this all kicks in Nov. 1, 2016 for colleges, or 11/1/17 for Junior colleges. Affected schools have drafted complex, detailed rules, policies, lists and signs for controlling where Campus Carry is tolerated and where it is banned, almost a throwback to the civil-rights denials of "No drinking at this water fountain" days. Students must stay alert to the restrictions on a school-by-school basis, even if the rules seem to violate the letter or spirit of state law.
Copyright 2016 Alan Korwin All rights reserved
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