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By James England via concealednation.org

The Greek king Pyrrhus of Epirus, in 280 BC, sought to stop the Romans from taking over his lands. Though he won two major victories against the numerically far superior Romans, each victory brought with it irreplaceable losses. Thus the advent of the term, “Pyrrhic Victory”. In 2015, the term still applies. Only, in this case, it follows the news that Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign into law a bill that will authorize concealed carry on Texas campuses . . .

On the surface, this appears to be a great win for concealed carriers looking to protect their Second Amendment rights. But just below that surface, a murkier truth waits in hiding. According to the bill’s provisions, Texas university and college presidents may authorize “Gun Free Zones” on their campuses so long as the entire campus is not so impeded.

Where Texas Concealed Carry (SB-11) Gets Hemmed Up

According to bill that passed (SB-11), concealed carriers can not be prohibited from storing their concealed carry firearms in their personal vehicles at Texas public universities and colleges. They also can’t be prohibited from carrying those firearms on or about their person while they are on campus. But what about students staying in dormitories?

(d) An institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state may establish rules, regulations, or other provisions concerning the storage of handguns in dormitories or other residential facilities that are owned or leased and operated by the institution and located on the campus of the institution.

More importantly, what about private institutions?

(e) A private or independent institution of higher education in this state, after consulting with students, staff, and faculty of the institution, may establish rules, regulations, or other provisions prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on premises that are owned or leased and operated by the institution and located on the campus of the institution.

More importantly, the bill allows for presidents of public colleges and universities to establish arbitrary (and largely imaginary) “gun free zones” so long as the campus itself is not designated one.

Don’t see the conflict?

Put yourself in a college employee’s shoes. Pretend you’re adjunct faculty – not classified as faculty and not quite an employee. The president of the university designates the faculty break room as a gun-free zone.  Maybe your lecture hall is designated a gun-free zone.

How are you expected to transport your firearm safely and in a concealed manner through zones that interrupt your ability to teach?

What’s next? Designating bathrooms as gun-free zone?

The Achilles’ heel of this apparent victory lies in the details. Presidents who are committed – for whatever reason – to making a concealed carrier’s participation on campus difficult are free to do so.

More importantly, teaching hospitals – hospitals located on the campus of a university – are allowed to extend their gun-free zones up to 1,000 feet.

Once this bill goes into effect (if signed) in September of 2015, it will inevitably force students, faculty, and university employees to either unwittingly break the rules or force them into conspicuous behavior to ensure they remain legal concealed carriers on campus.

As states such as Mississippi and Oregon begin to loosen restrictions on concealed carry, it’s important to remain aware of the specific wording of the bills being passed. Just as in Texas, concealed carriers could wind up with a lot more hassle than they were bargaining for.

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44 Responses to How the Texas Campus Carry Win May Actually be a Loss

    • Just fight them with lawyers… we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,

  1. It’s not Pyrrhic. It’s just not a complete win. It’s better than before and there is no risk of getting worse.

    • Pretty much exactly what I was going to say until the page quit working on me. There is a lot of ground between an incomplete victory (ie one that doesn’t end the war) and a Pyrrhic victory.

    • Six in one hand, half a dozen in the other.

      Instead of one gun free zone campus, Texas colleges will have multiple smaller gun free zones instead. The effect is the same.

      Can’t concealed carry on campus if the only place your gun is allowed is the parking lot and on campus dorm.
      Want to go to the financial aid office? Gun free zone.
      Visit the GI Bill office? No guns allowed.
      Stadium? No guns.
      Campus class building? No gun.

      And any incremental progress we make legislatively will grind to a halt the moment some goober NDs his gun in the dormitory.

      • And it affords the antis a chance to say, “See!, we game you campus carry and it didn’t change anything”. And then after the first incident….well, you get the picture.

      • I’m thinking that under Texas law it is generally OK to carry your gun directly from one place you have a right to carry it to another place you have a right to carry it. Like I can carry my handgun from my car to my store even without a license. as long as I don’t make any “deviations” from the direct route. Not entirely certain, it’s been awhile since I dealt directly with that stuff.

      • If its concealed no one knows you have it. If you need it chances are tge ramifications of having a gun on you would be alot less than not having it. Theres no such thing as a gun free zone. Carry every where. Take shall not be infringed to the heart.

    • Agreed, Skyler. Super busy/traveling this week, so I’m late to the party, but that was my thinking, too.

    • BINGO! Its a step in the right direction, and gives a starting point to later be expanded upon. Get something on the books, and fix it later. The first step is the hardest one.

    • Just WHY can’t idiot politicians get something right the first time. If something is so complicated that they take a small forest of trees to make the law the perhaps it’s time to take small bites. This particular law isn’t that hard but they’re pandering to the Schools. Here let me help them out.

      “CCW by duly trained and permitted persons is permitted on all State and Private campuses of higher education. No exceptions shall be allowed.”

      If the oh so sensitive Lefties need their teddy huggy space then give them a small closet in a basement. Or better yet tell them to get a friggin’ grip.

      • Agreed, but I have to say that it’s a lot more fun to strangle the gungrabbers slowly. Figuratively speaking of course.

    • Yup, now that the framework is out there, it can be tweaked via small amendments tacked on to other bills.

  2. Doesn’t sound like much of a Bill to offer self-appointed self-defense. Too many words, too many ways to interpret. Schools will make everything a gun-free zone and require any firearm must be locked away if on campus.

  3. This is a essentially creating a “self-defense zone” (2nd amendment zone), much like the current “free-speech zone” (1st amendment zone) that already exists on many campuses.

    • “The president or officer may not establish provisions that generally prohibit or have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders from carrying concealed handguns on the campus of the institution.”

    • From the bill in your link:

      (c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), (d-1), or (e), an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state may not adopt any rule, regulation, or other provision prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on the campus of the institution.

      (e) A private or independent institution of higher education in this state, after consulting with students, staff, and faculty of the institution, may establish rules, regulations, or other provisions prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on the campus of the institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by the institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation vehicle owned by the institution.

      So… you CAN’T create gun free zones (Section C), except that you CAN (section e)… right?

    • +1 – if the author can’t even get the effective date right (8/1/16 for universities and 2017 for community and junior colleges) I have little faith in their legal analysis (which was also off).

  4. To me, it’s “Game On!”. In fact, albeit a struggle, I HOPE that various college administrations try every trick in the book. Look at the inevitable outcome.

    Some students will carry because they can. Veterans on the GI bill; adults working on their MBAs or finishing their Bachelors’ degrees in the evening. Younger students will mingle with these elder students for 4 years before they reach 21 and become eligible for their own carry permits. That’s a long time to ponder the danger/safety of being surrounded by a population of concealed carriers.

    Some of these students will be gored by the gun restrictions. How many college students do you know who take infringements on their perceived liberties lying down? These will argue, protest, campaign and defy the rules. What will the colleges do? It will become common knowledge that carrying students are passing through the gun-free zone of “Old Main”. We will have an “I Will Not Comply!” situation that the administration will have to confront. Are they going to expel a successful student whom they are able to detect is violating the rules? What if that student is a minority? What if a female minority? What if a female minority pursuing a PhD in Ethnic-American Studies?

    At some point, the pressure to acquiesce will overcome the urge to compel compliance.

    TX-Campus-Carry is the camel’s nose under the tent skirt. The more the occupant attempts to beat-back the invasion the more the futility of the effort becomes apparent.

    • If the “transgressor” is a straight white Christian male, then yes, he will be scourged and throw to the wolves (or wild Tx hogs).

  5. Someone in here also posted the bill’s text. The bill only allows a public college to create a gun free zone under extraordinary circumstances. The examples given were “in a lab where live viruses are being kept”. Any prohibition must be explicitly explained as being absolutely necessary. General claims of “for the children” and “muh feelings” cannot be used to create a gun free zone. Now of course expect the universities to throw shit at a wall to see what sticks, but they’ll be struck down in court. Basically, the legislature created a “may issue” gun free zone permit for the universities. And may issue always means no issue.

    • I was going to post something very similar to Toasty’s post here.

      I watched the testimony of the legislators as the bill was debated. Senator Estes, the bill’s author, made it very clear that there should be extremely few exceptions to the campus carry law. Senators brought up all sorts of potential restrictive zones, asking if that’d be okay, and every time the answer was “no.” The example given by Sen. Estes was a particular bio research facility on a southeast Houston campus; it’s a place where they have live strains of things such as ebola, smallpox, anthrax, etc. In a place like that, and pretty much ONLY in a place like that, would the University presidents be able to restrict concealed carry.

      It was debated to death on the floor of the Senate and the House. All these things have been brought up. And the answers were quite strict, and then were entered into the official record to establish legislative intent (so that when court cases come up, the judges can look back and see what the original intent of the legislators was). The legislative intent was that campus carry should be as free and open as possible, and should only be able to be restricted for extremely rare circumstances (such as a bio hazards building).

      • ^ This!

        Thank you ShootingTheBull410 … you beat me to the post.

        It would appear, therefore, that the original article is quite inaccurate.

      • I Actually laughed when this was brought up in testimony. I even offered as testimony, “why are you worried about a student with a 9mm when they have access to ebola or spanish flu?” “I mean a 9 mm isn’t going to wipe out a city like these pathogens would. Why would you trust a student with these diseases? But Not a handgun?

        • Chris, I think they would be more concerned with an ND that shatters the glass on a Level IV containment hood. That could release pathogens into the room.

      • Ah, so no 10ft wide gun free zone that encircles the campus, except for a very specific walk-of-shame style 5ft wide corridor through that gun free circle to make it so that the campus isn’t made to be generally gun free?

        Sounds like the legislature actually thought it through a bit? Too bad the judges can ignore that public record and just cite legislative intent to be whatever the want. But, at least it is there.

  6. It will change, either better, or worse. No one exactly held a gun to my head to make me choose a college, so a student needs to make a choice, as to how important concealed carry while on campus is to him or her. An employee needs to make a choice as to how important working is to him or her, the job, or safety, and the rules get hopefully better.

    Now, both my kids will hopefully be finishing up a four year degree shortly after they reach 21. One wants to get her Masters, and has no interest in guns (I know, I know….I’ve failed as a parent.) The other is in high school, we’re hopeful he graduates and goes to a community college. If he’s not ready to finish a four year degree when he turns 21, and gets his concealed carry….well, he should pay the consequences of not studying hard enough.

  7. The antis will never get a grip.

    The emotion based fantasy fear of gloom and doom expressed by the antis and their minions when they can’t get their way with regard lawful gun carriers on campus is entirely bitter theater. It’s promoted by the gun grabber industrial complex and echoed by all their true believers at every sound bite opportunity.

    I’m sure near every Texas anti-gun college president will find myriad excuses to name most of every educational institution and its satellite facilities necessarily ‘gun free’.

    As with near everything related ‘gun control’ I’m sure this will end up in court. Maybe the good Admiral McRaven can lead the charge and be the face of vindication spurred on by the anti-gun leadership in hopes of overturning this new law.

    You know; make it appear to be a ‘Texas’, rather than an East Coast led effort.

  8. I am just a grouchy old man. The college students I have seen around should not be allowed sharpened pencils, if they even know what a pencil is, much less a firearm.

    • I’m sure they know what a gun is. It’s that scary, evil black thing that their mentors tell them needs to be banned, confiscated, melted down and molded into the shackles that will be used to enslave them.

  9. Private institutions are just that… Private. As much as I like guns people tend to forget that property rights mean the owner makes the rules. You may not agree with those rules but you then have choices to make about what’s most valuable to you. I go to a private institution for my MBA that definitely doesn’t allow carry. I may not agree, but I respect their choice. I don’t respect public institutions limitations though.

    As long as interactions between private entities are voluntary everything is A-okay.

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