The new campus carry law, set to go into effect August 1 at public universities—a year later at community colleges—raises a number of interesting questions. Uncertainty should not be terribly surprising, as new statutes are often subject to interpretation during the implementation phase, especially those that are controversial or imply potential court challenges. Campus carry has both ingredients.
(The issue of "gun-free" zones, which are allowed under the law, has been covered here previously. Subsequent posts will follow this topic as it develops.)
A recent hearing by the Senate Committee on State Affairs brought forth an issue raised by faculty members in particular. If licensed carriers of concealed weapons are allowed into classrooms with their weapons, can they be required to identify themselves to the instructor or college officials? Some individuals have suggested that student carriers be told to sit on the back row, or to wear some sort of identification, so selected authorities could know who the "good guys" are. Previous testimony from law enforcement officials indicated a concern that, in a chaotic situation, armed officers may not be able to make such distinctions.
But identification for this purpose apparently won't be allowed, if comments by the chair of the Senate panel are any guide. It's covered in the Texas Tribune, by Matthew Watkins. Please read the article for details about the hearing.
From the piece:
"They have a right to carry [guns] and have passed a background check," said Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, the committee's chairwoman. "I hope you don't put these individuals in a place where they are treated differently than other students."
The chancellors agreed, expressing little concern about how the law will be implemented. They said they don't expect the law to cost much money, and they said they had heard of few, if any, students who will choose not to attend a public university in Texas once the law goes into effect. Some chancellors said they spoke with university officials in states where campus carry is already allowed and were told that the laws have caused few problems.