Campus-carry policy still under discussion

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Wally Perez

The law will affect community colleges this fall.

By Wally Perez

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Individuals at the Alamo Colleges should expect to see — really, not see — students, faculty or staff carrying concealed handguns come August.

The campus-carry law, which allows handguns on university campuses and other locations associated with institutions of higher education, has been in effect at four-year universities since Aug. 1.

Community colleges, such as the Alamo Colleges, have had an extra year to strategize and prepare for the law.

District General Counsel Ross Laughead heads the campus carry committee and said members had a chance to look at what the four-year institutions have done and potentially mirror their implementation of the law.

The University of Texas system is one of the

universities the committee has monitored, as well as the Texas A&M system and Texas State University.

Laughead said the chief executive — in this case Chancellor Bruce Leslie — would be allowed to make reasonable rules or regulations in consultation with students, faculty and staff but could not have the general effect of prohibiting the licensed carry of concealed handguns on campus.

“We’ve been discussing the law since the purpose of the committee is to implement the statutory requirement so the chancellor has a consulted process in effect,” Laughead said.

Although the deadline is approaching, nothing is set in stone yet, and Laughead wasn’t able to give specific details regarding what the Alamo Colleges will be doing. Research is still being done, and the committee hasn’t presented anything to the board of trustees.

“I have yet to deliver a report in regards to what we plan to do since we haven’t gone through that process yet,” Laughead said.

The process includes the chancellor hearing the committee’s recommendations and making the rules for the implementation of the law.

The board has 90 days to change the rules by a two-thirds vote if necessary.

The board is required to change what the chancellor does if needed, which is what the statute requires.

“We’re complying with the statute. Whether or not we have any additional bells or whistles, I don’t know yet,” Laughead said.

Laughead said it’s premature to say if the colleges will have sensitive areas and buildings on the campuses.

This college is home to Travis Early College High School and the early childhood studies center, which are both considered sensitive areas as high school students walk around the campus on a daily basis.

Temple Beth-El is also in proximity of the college, which provides space for a  religious school for 3-year-old children up to 10th-grade students.

Laughead said the committee has evaluated what four-year universities have proposed as well as statutes that already apply to limitations where guns can be in general for guidance.

“We want to evaluate everything,” Laughead said.

“Politically, it looks like the Legislature is going to look at all of this since it has to be reported to the Legislature after it’s adopted,” he said. “We’re anticipating the Legislature is going to look at what happens and perhaps pass laws again.”

Laughead attended two meetings Jan. 26 in Austin, which were the Texas Association of Community Colleges and the Texas Association of Community College Attorneys, to get as much information as he could in search of any rules they may propose.

He wasn’t able to obtain any information that may be useful in the future, but expects something to be coming fairly soon as August is fast approaching.

“This is the input process, so it’s up to the chancellor, then up to the board,” he said.

Laughead guessed a final proposal will go to the board in March or April since the deadline is August, and there needs to be time to implement it among the colleges.

There is no open carry allowed on campuses.

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