Under Texas’ new “campus carry” law, which went into effect on August. 1, 2016 anyone with a Texas Handgun License on many campuses will be allowed to carry concealed handguns. There is no open carry of handguns, rifles or shotguns on college or university campuses.
The law applies to all public colleges and universities, though some areas on campuses are off limits, including sports arenas, chemical labs or designated gun free zones. Next year, two-year community colleges will be included under the law on August 1, 2017.
Proponents of the law say that allowing students to carry weapons may help prevent college campus shootings, which there have been many of in recent years. However, college shootings are not new. In fact, the law took effect on the 50th anniversary of the clock tower massacre, which involved 49 people being shot — 16 of them killed — by a student gunman on the University of Texas at Austin campus.
Because of the requirements of the law, it is expected that very few students will actually qualify under the law. For example, the University of Texas estimates that fewer than 1 percent of the students there will qualify.
Of course, the controversial law has also been met with criticism from people who say that allowing guns on campus will only lead to more violence. You can read more about the new law here.
While concealed carry laws are intended promote safety, they do have a downside. Permit-holders who are forced to draw their weapons or fire it may end up facing criminal charges, even if they truly believed they were doing the right thing.
The second the gun comes out of the holster, the burden of proof turns to the permit-holder, who is then required to defend his or her actions in court.
Additionally, people who were carrying a gun while committing any crime other than a traffic offense can face more serious consequences because they were in possession of a weapon.
For example, our firm represented a man who was accused of operating an unauthorized fireworks stand. Because a gun was found in his car, the man ended up being charged with a Class A weapon offense instead of a Class C misdemeanor.
Ultimately, effective legal representation is critical anytime a person faces weapons-related charges, whether the person was licensed to carry or not.