Texas A&M University is enacting new campus carry rules that will allow handguns in classrooms and dorms beginning August 1.
The university summarized the proposed rules on its website:
In accordance with state law, the licensed carry of concealed handguns will be allowed at Texas A&M University System member institutions beginning on August 1, 2016.
Each university president and agency CEO has consulted with their respective students, staff members, and faculty and proposed rules that take into account specific safety considerations and the uniqueness of their campus environment. These proposals have been reviewed by the Texas A&M System Office of General Counsel, approved by the Chancellor for submission to the Board, and will be considered by the Texas A&M System Board of Regents on April 27, 2016.
No rule proposed by any Texas A&M System member prohibits a licensed holder from carrying a concealed handgun in classrooms or residential facilities owned and operated, or leased and operated, by the institution.
However, in keeping with the law, there will be certain locations throughout the System where concealed carry will, or may at times, be prohibited.
Three institutions — Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M International University, and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi — have residential facilities that are leased by a third party management company. While the universities do not oppose licensed concealed carry in campus residential facilities, their proposed rules acknowledge the property right of the management company to determine restrictions on the possession and storage of weapons in those facilities.
Generally, Texas A&M System members will defer to the property rights of lessees, allowing them make determinations about the allowance of concealed handguns on their premises. State law prohibits carrying a concealed handgun on the premises in which an interscholastic event is taking place. Additionally, Texas A&M System rules grant the presidents and CEOs of member institutions the authority to prohibit concealed carry on a temporary basis as necessary for institutional safety.
According to the proposal, firearms will not be permitted in science labs that include the “presence of strong magnets”; preschool, elementary and secondary school facilities “in which the concealed carry of handguns is prohibited by state law”; and health and psychological counseling facilities.
Texas A&M student Fabiola Villarreal told The Eagle that while she understands why some would be comforted by weapons on campus, firearms could still be unsettling for others.
“As a student, it's kind of scary to think that the person next to you might have a gun in their backpack,” Villarreal said. “I guess they would feel safe because they were carrying a gun, but what about those that don't carry guns? Would you be forced to carry something that you may not want to carry to feel safe?"