A year ago, students with a permit could begin carrying concealed handguns on public universities in Texas. The critic-predicted Armageddon never did materialize, a fact the Texas Tribune summarized with, “And that year was relatively quiet.” Chris Meyer of Texas A&M told the reporter there was, “Virtually no impact at all.” Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec called the last 12 months, “Amazingly quiet.” Now, the state’s smaller community colleges—more than 70, in all—followed suit on Aug. 1, when their grace period to get signage and other requirements up to standards expired.
The law doesn’t impact private schools like Baylor, Texas Christian University, Rice and others. They can, however, choose to allow carry, and Amberton University has done so.
Students who want to carry on a campus must first acquire a permit. In Texas, according to Houston ABC TV affiliate KTRK, you must be at least 21 years old, or a member of the military 18 years old or older, to get one. The applicant must also pass classroom and range testing, in addition to getting an additional background clearance.
Texas regulations ban carry at school sporting events and hospitals, and the law allows universities/colleges to declare select additional areas as “gun free” zones. At Texas A&M, guns are allowed in dorms, but at the University of Texas at Austin, they are not. The latter school also allows faculty to declare their offices “gun free” zones. At Austin Community College’s 11 campuses, a number of exclusion zones are outlined in the school's campus-carry policy, including "Any laboratories or storage rooms with extremely dangerous chemicals, biologic agents or explosive agents and areas with equipment that is incompatible with metallic objects, such as magnetic resonance imaging machines."
Open carry on campus is not allowed. Students must look for and honor any “gun free” zone signs, and expect some buildings—like libraries that may be hosting a grade school event—to periodically receive the temporary designation.
More than 1.1 million Texans have current carry permits.
This article has been updated to correct the exclusion zones located on Austin Community College campuses.