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Thu May 9, 2013
Does Texas A&M already have 'campus carry'?
With all the talk about "campus carry" legislation, hearsay around the capitol and elsewhere tells mixed tales about whether Texas A&M University already allows "campus carry." KETR checks in with The Texas Tribune for a disambiguation.
Hey Texplainer, I heard that Texas A&M University currently allows campus carry. Is that true?
During the Texas House floor debate this month over whether concealed handguns should be allowed in university buildings, Texas A&M University was mentioned early and often.
House Bill 972, by state Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, would essentially convert “campus carry” in Texas to an opt-out program. Should the legislation pass, university presidents would have to adopt rules prohibiting the practice on an annual basis.
When state Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, rose to debate the bill on May 4, he noted that currently, campus carry is essentially an opt-in program — under the law, concealed handguns can not be carried into campus buildings unless a university adopts rules specifically allowing it.
“In fact A&M has already done that, is that correct?” Canales asked Fletcher.
“I think so,” the author responded.
After the assertion went unchallenged when it was first raised on the floor, it was cited multiple times throughout the discussion on the bill in the House.
On May 6, just before the bill passed the House, state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, observed, “My alma mater, obviously, has opted in. I went to A&M.”
The notion that campus carry is currently allowed at Texas A&M made its way into news reports about the debate. But before Aggies grab their guns and head to class, they should know that campus carry is not actually allowed.
Texas A&M’s student senate has previously approved a measure to recommend allowing campus carry. In light of that, it’s worth repeating that, should HB 972 pass in its current form, university presidents would be required to weigh student recommendations in their decision on whether to opt out of allowing campus carry.
But even then, as they are now, such votes by student groups are nonbinding.
When Steve Moore, a spokesman for the Texas A&M University System, was asked if the flagship institution's administration had decided to allow individuals to carry concealed firearms on campus, he said, “Texas A&M has not done so.”
Bottom line: Despite what state lawmakers said during floor debate on legislation that would allow concealed firearms to be carried into buildings on university campuses, Texas A&M University has not adopted rules allowing campus carry.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2013/05/09/texplainer-does-texas-m-already-allow-campus-carry/.