Texas AG Opinion Sought Regarding Campus Carry at Junior and Community Colleges

A Texas state representative is asking Attorney General Ken Paxton for an opinion regarding campus carry at public junior colleges and community colleges in Texas.

The request from State Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, chair of the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, comes on the heels of a December 2015 opinion to State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, that stated, in part:

"The carrying of concealed handguns in certain types of classrooms may pose heightened safety concerns such that the regulation of concealed handguns is authorized under S.B. (Senate Bill) 11. As an example, some institutions of higher education have grade school classrooms on their campuses. Given that the Legislature has made it a criminal offense to carry a firearm on the physical premises of such a school, rules regulating the carrying of concealed handguns in such grade school classrooms would be consistent with the Legislative's intent."

Many junior and community colleges have Early College High Schools (ECHS) and dual-credit students on campus. Both programs involve minors taking courses on those college campuses. Herrero stated that while ECHS are sometimes housed in separate buildings on campus, many ECHS students are fully integrated within existing college courses and have full access to all college campus classrooms and campus facilities. That integration makes it practically impossible to limit their physical access to those buildings and facilities.

He further noted that some College for Kids programs and summer camps that serve some students between the third and eighth grades.

Herrero is asking Paxton for an opinion on four specific questions:

  1. 1. Can a junior/community college prohibit handguns in the classrooms on the college campus, if minor children may attend classes in any or all of the classrooms on that campus?
  2. May handguns be prohibited during special programs where minors will be present and in all areas where minors are expected to appear?
  3. For programs that take place over several weeks and are directed at minors (e.g. College for Kids), may handguns be prohibited in all areas where minors may congregate?
  4. May handguns be prohibited on campuses which offer childcare centers?

NBC 5 will keep you updated when the attorney general posts an opinion on this matter.

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