Several shootings in recent years on college campuses have created an ongoing controversial issue of whether universities should allow students to defend themselves from danger. The 2007 deadly shooting at Virginia Tech University prompted many states to reconsider their stance on permitting guns on campus. While opponents want to keep all weapons out of the hands of all students and restrict them on campuses, proponents argue that a critical need exists for a revision of existing gun restrictions. In 2014, several states passed laws allowing students to carry a gun for self-defense. In many states, the decision to allow concealed carry weapons on campus is decided by each university or College Board individually. Colorado, Texas, Oregon, Utah, Kansas, and Wisconsin currently allow concealed weapons on campus. In the wake of more deadly shootings in “gun-free zones,” many states are reconsidering their current rules.
To carry a concealed weapon on campus, a student or faculty member must first pass all courses on the safe handling and use of a firearm. A certified firearms instructor must teach these classes. Upon completion of training, the individual must obtain a permit and follow all the rules and regulations set forth by the state law enforcement agencies and the university.
Courts in several states have overturned bans on concealed carry weapons on college campuses. Before 2012, the University of Colorado banned all guns on campus. A court ruling in March 2012 determined that this prohibition violates that state’s concealed carry law. Other states have faced similar decisions. The court orders say the state legislature supersedes the university’s rules as it determines policy dictating the use, sale, and possession of firearms.
Update on Texas New Campus Carry Laws
The new campus carry law in the state of Texas went into effect on August 1, 2016. Governor Greg Abbott signed S.B. 11, which provides students with a concealed carry permit to carry a concealed handgun anywhere on a public university campus throughout the state. However, the law also gives these institutions discretion to regulate their campuses. This bill takes into account the uniqueness of each school and its specific safety needs. Even though the University of Texas at Austin has some issues with guns on campus, the school is complying with the law that prohibits a school from banning concealed handguns on campus.