Some have suggested that Texas Senate Bill 354 should be amended to allow public colleges to “opt out” of allowing concealed carry on campus. However, the state law (TX PC §46.03[a]) prohibiting licensed concealed carry at Texas colleges already includes a provision allowing any institution of higher education to create a “written regulation or written authorization” allowing concealed carry on campus. Texas colleges currently have the option to allow concealed carry on campus, yet none have chosen to do so.
Rewording the law so that colleges have the choice to prohibit concealed carry, rather than the choice to allow it, isn’t an improvement at all; it’s just an underhanded attempt to maintain the status quo.
Even if some colleges and universities were to independently decide to allow licensed concealed carry on campus, this would simply create an unmanageable patchwork of laws across the state. License holders would never be entirely sure on which campuses they were allowed to carry handguns and on which campuses they weren’t. Even worse, this patchwork of laws would be ever-changing, based on who happened to be the university president or the system chancellor or on the board of regents at any given time.
Opponents of campus carry misleadingly suggest that campus carry legislation seeks to unfairly limit the ability of universities to self-govern. In reality, the Texas Education Code and the Texas Government Code already contain hundreds of pages of restrictions on public colleges, regulating everything from why universities can and can’t deny admission to what universities must include on their websites. Therefore, there is nothing unfair or unprecedented about insisting that state-funded colleges honor state-issued licenses.
State colleges and universities have no more right to self-govern than do cities or state agencies. If cities can’t prohibit concealed carry and state agencies can’t prohibit concealed carry, why do public institutions of higher education deserve special consideration?
RELATED: The Case for Campus Carry in Texas