On August 1, 2017, Central Texas College, and all other public community colleges in Texas, will implement a campus carry policy allowing concealed handguns on campus as allowed by Senate Bill 11. The legislation was passed by the 2015 Texas Legislature and allows those with a concealed handgun license to carry their firearms in college buildings. The law was effective for public four-year universities last year. While open carry is prohibited, Senate Bill 11 authorizes a license holder to carry a concealed handgun on or about the license holder while on the CTC campus in Killeen and its service area campuses in Lampasas, Gatesville, Fredericksburg and Marble Falls.
“Senate Bill 11 allowed colleges to establish their own rules within the limits of the law as to where concealed handguns can be carried on campus and how they are to be stored based on public safety concerns,” said Mary Wheeler, chief of CTC campus police. “At no time does the law allow for open carry of firearms on college campuses.”
Only those individuals possessing a valid handgun license may carry on the CTC campus. Individuals must be 21 years of age to obtain a handgun license. The new law requires license-to-carry (LTC) holders, who carry handguns on campus, to have the handgun completely concealed, carried on or about their person at all times or secured in a concealed manner in a locked, privately-owned or leased motor vehicle. The LTC holder may not carry a partially or wholly visible handgun on campus.
“LTC holders carrying a handgun on campus must have the handgun in a holster at all times and the holster must completely cover the entire trigger guard area,” said Wheeler. “The holster must have sufficient tension or grip to retain the weapon in the holster even when jostled or shaken.”
The law allows for certain schools to designate some areas and public events on campus as gun-free zones. CTC has identified several of these areas including all locations used for early childhood education, daycare, preK-12 school learning or activities such as the Early College High School facility. “Buildings and rooms deemed gun-free zones will be marked by signs in compliance with Texas Penal Code, Section 30.06,” said Wheeler.
Other gun-free zones are CTC’s mental health care service locations and areas for all sporting, intramural or interscholastic events. In addition, the student housing facility (except for the game room, television room, lobby and lounge) and the Mayborn Science Theater (Bldg. 152) during events for minors have been designated gun-free zones. “Locations used to discuss student or employee discipline or hear grievances,” are gun-free zones,” said Wheeler. “Laboratory and other campus locations where dangerous chemicals/materials are kept, areas containing critical college infrastructure and areas where contractual or licensing obligations require exclusion of firearms are also gun-free zones.”
Wheeler added violation of CTC’s campus carry policy constitutes a violation of state and/or federal laws and violators may be subject to criminal prosecution, disciplinary action or both. “It is a criminal offense for a license holder to carry a partially- or wholly-visible handgun,” said Wheeler. “If the person intentionally or knowingly displays the handgun in plain view of another person, this is a violation of the campus carry law. Also, campus carry applies to handguns only. All other firearms are illegal on campus.”
While the CTC campus carry policy applies to the Killeen and service area campuses, the CTC Fort Hood campus falls under the policy regulated by the U.S. Government which does not allow concealed firearms on federal property.