Central Texas College (Killeen) has adopted two highly dubious campus carry policies, including one that mirrors a proposal the University of Texas board of regents rejected after experts advised that implementing it would greatly increase the risk of an accidental or negligent discharge on campus.
CTC, one of dozens of two-year colleges where Texas’ campus carry law will take effect on Aug. 1, announced the policies at a Jan. 18 forum for students. Both policies track with recommendations of the campus carry policy working group at the University of Texas at Austin.
One policy would allow occupants of single-occupant offices to designate their offices as criminally enforceable “gun-free” zones.
The other would require that all handguns be carried without a chambered round of ammunition. Students for Concealed Carry has written extensively about the problems with gun-free-office and empty-chamber rules.
The problem with allowing faculty and staff to arbitrarily designate their offices as “gun-free” zones—a right not enjoyed by any other state employee, including legislators and the governor—is that it prohibits many if not most licensed faculty, staff, and graduate students from legally carrying concealed handguns on campus, because their jobs require them to occasionally enter private offices.
The problem with requiring that handguns be carried with empty chambers is that such a policy would force license to carry (LTC) holders, most of whom would otherwise never have reason to unholster and handle their handguns on campus, to unload and reload their guns in their private automobiles parked in campus parking lots, where colleges have no authority to prohibit such actions.
After numerous experts warned that such a policy would increase the risk of an accidental or negligent discharge on campus, the University of Texas System regents rejected UT-Austin’s proposed empty-chamber rule.
It’s worth noting that, whereas the proposed UT-Austin policy stated, “Semiautomatic handguns must be carried without a chambered round of ammunition [emphasis added],” the policy unveiled during the CTC forum states, “All concealed handguns brought on campus must be holstered without a chambered round and with the trigger safety mechanism engaged [emphasis added].”
At least UT-Austin’s working group—which admitted they “did not formally hear from outside experts” before proposing the empty-chamber policy—knew enough about firearms to understand that a revolver always has a loaded chamber as long as there is ammunition in the gun.
The only way to carry a revolver without a chambered round would be to carry a completely unloaded—and, therefore, completely useless—gun. It’s also worth noting that most modern handguns do not feature a manually engaged trigger safety mechanism.
Also, many of the handguns that do have a manual safety require the hammer to be cocked—which it normally wouldn’t be if the chamber is empty—before the safety can be engaged.
SCC Southwest Regional Director Brian Bensimon commented, “It’s almost as if the people who created CTC’s empty-chamber policy gained all of their firearm knowledge from old TV shows.”
SCC Texas Legislative Director Allison Peregory added, “The adoption of these policies is the clearest indicator thus far that the Texas Legislature will need to revisit campus carry during the current session.”
Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with the NRA or any other organization. For more information on SCC, visit ConcealedCampus.org or Facebook.com/ConcealedCampus. For more information on the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit WhyCampusCarry.com.