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A Look at What Campus Carry Will Mean for UT Austin

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KUT News
A new state law will allow concealed carry license holders to bring handguns on campus as soon as next year. The University of Texas at Austin will allow public input in the process before implementing a campuswide plan next year.

A new state law allowing people to carry concealed handguns on Texas public university campuses has sparked an outcry from some students, staff and faculty at UT Austin.

A working group set up by the university will hold two public meetings on the new law, as it sets out guidelines for implementing it. Still, there's a lot of confusion over what the law does and doesn’t allow.

You might not know this, but concealed carry license holders have been able to bring guns on UT’s campus for 20 years, according to the university. However, license holders haven’t been allowed to bring those guns into buildings.

The new law says universities cannot “generally prohibit” license holders from carrying, but it lets schools create some rules about guns on campus and the storage of handguns in dorms.  Administrators have taken that to mean there may still be some places where guns are off-limits, and that’s one of the things the working group is looking into.

The new law does not allow open carry on campus, and it applies only to people with concealed carry licenses, which require applicants to be at least 21 years old.

Steve Goode is the UT law professor heading the campus carry working group.

“Most undergraduates on campus will not even be eligible to be licensees,” Goode says. “So we expect the number of licensees will be fairly small in any event.”

About 500 students of age 21 or older live in on-campus residence halls each year, and the University estimates that fewer than 1 percent of UT students have concealed carry licenses.

Goode’s working group is seeking public input and says it's already close to 1,900 comments. The group will host two public meetings – the first on Sept. 30 and the second on Oct. 5. 

License holders may start carrying concealed handguns on campus starting in August of 2016.

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