Central Texas College and other two-year colleges across the state will allow concealed firearms on campus today as part of the Texas “campus carry” law.
The law, which applies to those who are over 21 and already have a concealed carry license, began a year ago for four-year universities.
Texas A&M University-Central Texas President Marc A. Nigliazzo said that since the change, the day-to-day operations at the university have not changed.
“The rule went in place as scheduled. ... There were no incidents. Although we’re aware the policy is in place, it’s not something we think much about anymore,” Nigliazzo said Monday. “Once it went into place, I think everyone got comfortable with the fact that it’s in existence.”
CTC released its policy on campus carry at a public forum in January.
CTC’s police Chief Mary Wheeler said the school’s administration can temporarily or permanently mark off areas considered gun-free zones on CTC’s campus.
Those permanent gun-free zones at CTC include:
- Any interscholastic sporting event location including intramural sports; locations where people younger than 17 are present.
- Voting poll locations.
- Board of trustee meetings.
- Science laboratories where dangerous chemicals may be stored.
- Mental health care service locations including individual and group sessions;
- CTC’s Shoemaker Center.
- CTC-owned motor vehicles.
- Locations used to discuss student or employee discipline or hear grievances and student lounge.
- Sole-occupant offices at the occupant’s discretion.
- Areas containing critical college infrastructure.
- Some common areas such as dorms.
Some CTC entire buildings are also considered gun-free zones, including Building 119 (Student Services), Building 111, (Systems Services), Building 120 (Morton Hall residence housing is gun-free with the exception of the lobby and lounge, game room and television room), Building 152 (Mayborn Science Theater during events for minors).
Temporary gun-free zones will be marked as such by school administration.
Places such as classrooms, libraries, hallways, parking lots and lecture halls are all permitted places for students to carry a concealed weapon at CTC, officials said.
At Texas A&M-Central Texas, the only part of the campus off-limits to concealed carry is the counseling center. That’s because the center deals with “a variety of people with different emotional and behavioral issues,” according to Nigliazzo. Not all of those people are students.
There was a significant amount of discussion about whether to include the library among the list of places on campus where concealed carry is not allowed. Nigliazzo said that ultimately, the decision was up to the librarians. They didn’t want to publicize one building on campus that potential shooters knew there was no threat of a law-abiding citizen carrying a gun for protection.
If students or faculty members violate the rules, they could face criminal prosecution, campus disciplinary action or both.
Violations of the law or CTC policy on campus should be immediately reported to the CTC police department at 254-526-1427.