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Friday, August 26, 2016

Campus

Campus carry work group to release first draft early this month


campus carry infographic

The Campus Carry Work Group plans to release its first draft on a campus-wide concealed handgun policy this month.

The Campus Carry bill, otherwise known as Senate Bill 11, was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2015 and allows for the legal concealed carry of handguns in all four-year public universities in Texas beginning Aug. 1.

According to the University of Houston Police Department Campus Carry Work Group website, only persons with a state-mandated concealed handgun license are allowed to carry a concealed weapon on campus so long as the area has not been designated as a weapons free area.  A person must also be at least 21 years of age, undergo training and meet other statutory requirements to obtain a CHL in the State of Texas.

The Campus Carry Work Group is comprised of 15 members from all departments and backgrounds, including the Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, human resources department and student housing.

After taking note of the community’s thoughts from open forums and an online survey that is still available, Marcilynn Burke, associate dean of the Law Center and CCWG member, said the group has worked tediously to consider all aspects of the issue.

“We’ve taken all of the input that we’ve gotten from the campus community, and we’ve tried to look at it very carefully,” Burke said. “There’s no broad brush we can paint and say ‘This is the policy.’ We really have to look at each of these areas and the types of activities individually.”

Burke said the work group has considered other gun laws and UH’s policies, including policies associated with guns in medical facilities, before drawing conclusions.

“There are laws that prohibit the taking of handguns into hospitals,” Burke said. “We don’t have a hospital, but we do have clinical areas – we have (the) optometry (college), the counseling center, the health care center… (and) we think the rationale should apply to the medical services we provide on campus.”

The law provides for concealed carry in public spaces as long as the area has not been designated by the University as a weapons-free area. Sporting events such as football games are already defined as weapons-free areas, and Burke said the policy aims to identify other areas that will follow the same protocol, such as laboratories with dangerous chemicals and student housing and residence halls.

“We want to look at the areas where we know a lot of students will be present,” Burke said. “So when trying to decide what to do about student housing – should we allow it everywhere? Well, we don’t think that should be the right answer, but we think that there certainly should be places where people can be on campus and have a concealed handgun in their living space. Those are the certain things we are trying to balance.”

Burke said weapons-free zones would be identified with large signs written in English and Spanish and displayed to the public in a clearly visible manner.

“The UH department of public safety will be responsible for enforcing this law, just as they enforce the rules today with respect to the carrying of handguns,” Burke said.

Burke said one major aspect to consider about the law is that it will not apply to the majority of the student population because the vast majority of students are under 21 and therefore cannot own a handgun legally.

“It’s important to keep in mind that the real impact that this policy will have on campus culture will likely be marginal when you consider the small number of folks on campus who are eligible and willing to carry a concealed handgun on campus,” Student Government Association President Shaun Theriot-Smith said.

While many people are divided on the issue, the Faculty Senate recently openly opposed campus carry in December in a resolution where it stated “weapons designed to end human life have no place in the academic life of the University, except when carried by duly-authorized law officers.” The Senate urged President Khator and UH administration “to restore the protected academic space envisioned by the founders of the United States of America.”

While President Khator does have somewhat of a final say in the policy, Burke said she thinks some people are over-estimating the amount of discretion she has.

“The law very clearly says that the president may not establish rules that generally prohibit or have the effect of generally prohibiting people from carrying concealed handguns on campus,” Burke said. “We are trying to work in between those two ends of the spectrum: that one, it would be allowed everywhere, and on the other end, that it would be allowed practically nowhere. So I think that is what people are having difficulty grappling with – that while the president does have some discretion, there are limits to that discretion.”

After the draft is released, the CCWG will consider recommendations from the entire UH community. In March, revisions to the policy will be sent to President Khator for approval, the policy will be finalized in April, and by May, the work group will present the policy to the Board of Regents for approval. By August, the policy will officially be implemented.

Students, faculty and staff can still voice their concerns  by participating in the campus survey or emailing questions or concerns to [email protected]. An additional FAQ with detailed information is also available.

[email protected]

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  • Kelly Whalen

    Individuals opposed to campus carry don’t realize that they will most likely never have a class with someone who is lawfully carrying a concealed weapon. Yet, they think this will ‘militarize’ the campus.

    • Bobocefus Jones

      You’re right. Heck, I’ve yet to see a person open carrying.

    • http://gunfreeuh.wix.com/gunfreeuh GunFreeUH

      People promoting campus carry may not realize ALEC, the NRA, and libertarian groups like the Leadership Institute are behind these “model” laws and by repeating the same talking points they have essentially, taught them how to regard them as mechanisms for “self-defense.” Its called social engineering. I have yet to hear an original idea coming from someone advocating campus carry. All of the rhetoric is pre-fabricated and then passed along like a script. Fortunately, the ties between the laws, the legislators, etc., is well documented. It just hasn’t been well publicized. The good news is, that will be changing in the future.

    • overtonejunkie .

      for a VERY liberal number of carriers, let’s make some generous assumptions.

      Assumption 1: average distribution of undergrads (33,400) is 2/3 under 21 (again, being very generous), so that means we have about 11,000 undergrads that could be elidgleble to carry.

      Assumption 2: all post-bac (1400), graduate(6300), and special professional (1600) students will be of age.

      Assumption 3: The student population will have a similar carry license rate (4% of total pop) and 100% of those that are licensed will carry (which is VERY generous, as most don’t get their CHL until much later and a lot of carriers do not carry all the time).

      This would yield [(11,000+1,400+6,300+1,600)*0.04] about 800 concealed carriers on campus on a VERY generous set of assumptions, and the real case is likely to be half or even a quarter of that number.

      Even with this 800 number, it is still the case that 1.8% of the student population would have the license to carry, and a lot less would probably actually carry anyway.

      Go Coogs.

      • Kelly Whalen

        very nice

  • Bobocefus Jones

    I have a feeling the administration is about to be overwhelmed with loads of SocDem emotion … and very little common sense. To the SocDem … justifiable reasons … are incomprehensible.

    • http://gunfreeuh.wix.com/gunfreeuh GunFreeUH

      By “common sense” what you actually mean is “Constitutional Carry,” which we all know is what is coming behind S.B. 11 thanks to the NRA and ALEC. Concealed carry is just the appetizer It ain’t the main course. But if such good common sense, why are so many colleges opposed to it. For example, do you really think University of St. Thomas is a hotbed of social liberalism, being a private Catholic University and all? Why not just allow guns there? And Texas Christian University must be a veritable font of social progressiveness to opt out as well, yes. It’s easy to scapegoat what you don’t understand.

  • max Powers

    Based on the comments in this article by Marcilynn Burke, I get the impression they are trying real hard to find a reason for prohibiting, rather than allowing, the legal carry of firearms in areas on campus.

    If so, then there should be allowance for me to sue UH if I’m the victim of a criminal act (rape, robbery, assault, murder, etc) and as a result of their “decision” I was unable to legally defend myself with my firearm.

    Decisions have consequences. It should work both ways.

    • http://gunfreeuh.wix.com/gunfreeuh GunFreeUH

      I’m guessing you’ll be okay with the UH suing you if you fire and miss and damage property, or if the family sues you if you fire and miss and hit a peer? Works both ways.

    • Bobocefus Jones

      I think you just discovered a new field of law.

  • Bobocefus Jones

    GFUH — From what you wrote earlier ——-

    “”By “common sense” what you actually mean is “Constitutional Carry,” which we all know is what is coming behind S.B. 11 thanks to the NRA and ALEC. Concealed carry is just the appetizer It ain’t the main course. But if such good common sense, why are so many colleges opposed to it. For example, do you really think University of St. Thomas is a hotbed of social liberalism, being a private Catholic University and all? Why not just allow guns there? And Texas Christian University must be a veritable font of social progressiveness to opt out as well, yes. It’s easy to scapegoat what you don’t understand.””

    Alex … that was the most calm comment you wrote w/o sounding overly aggressive. Although a small amount of states allow Constitutional Carry, I do not believe it will take further hold. Concealed Carry and Open Carry is good enough.

    The private universities that are not allowing guns on campus open themselves to lawsuits should an incident occur. Not to mention it announces those places as Soft Targets, which a person intent on gunning down people on campus will go for the least X-Factors (ie – student CHL holders).

    And I do see the Catholic Church as a Socialist organization — the Pope is a Socialist, so why wouldn’t his church be? They are more of a give a fish church rather than a teach to fish church, and as a Catholic I’m vastly disappointed.

    • gunfreeuh

      Oh yes, the lawsuits. Because no good refusal to allow untrained amateurs with loaded weapons on your campus should go unpunished. Pope Francis is not a student of Socialism; he’s a student of Liberation Theology. Sorry you don’t know the difference. But generally, people like you can’t see the distinction because they see any act of compassion, decency, and humanitarianism as dirty socialism. Mother Teresa must have seemed like a regular little dictator to you. And goodness knows how must despise Gandi. And thanks for continuing to hype the mindless “gun free zone” myth, for which there is no credible evidence. As I’ve noted elsewhere, every mass shooting on every campus since 1966 was done not by a stranger psycho, but by a student of that campus, a careful analysis of the actual cases shows. The psycho stranger myth is just more NRA talking point garbage used to whip up hysteria and sell guns. It works quite well with the help of delluded folks like you who just parrot it ad nauseum.

      • Bobocefus Jones

        Oh, don’t get me started on Liberation Theology Alex … it still has a massive left wing bent, and its purpose to lessen massive poverty has been as successful as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton’s goal to end racism. The race business is their paycheck, and it ain’t ending anytime soon.

        I know you been racking your brain trying to formulate “justifiable reasons” not to sound redundant in the multiple Campus Carry Surveys that you have answered against concealed carry students.
        And “because I hate guns” or “I loath firearms” … does not count as a justifiable reason BTW.

        Can you imagine the stuff that the poor UHPD and Administration are gonna have to sift through, from supposedly educated people BTW, puking their mindless bilge based on stats and supposition that has been hardwired into their brains via hour upon hour of SocDemProf saliva marketed as fact in lecture.

        These are the same SocDemProfs who were backed the 1960/70’s radicals as truth and the government as the bad guy, and now the government is truth and anyone who disagrees with them is the bad guy. But you have to admit, that the achievements of Zedong, Pot, Stalin, Hitler, the North Korean Kim’s will never take place here. They can’t … there are too many privately owned guns out there, and at some point, there will be massive pushback via either free elections or gunplay against the SocDem state.

        Thankfully, we have continual reminders of Patriotism (like the Superbowl) to remind us that we are a free people, and that SocDems have went far beyond the scope of what the Constitution.

        Good Luck with your surveys Alex.

      • HUGH JASS

        BRAIN-FREE UH: YOUR RHETORIC IS TIRESOME AND REPETITIVE. I KNOW YOU CANT HELP YOUR SEXUAL IMMATURITY AND THUS FEAR OF GUNS. I FEEL SORRY FOR YOUR MATING PARTNER IN ADDITION TO ANYONE IN EARSHOT OF YOUR FEAR MONGERING DRIBBLE. POINT OF FACT, THE LAW HAS BEEN PASSED. YOUR OPINION IS IRRELEVANT. IN SHORT, GET OVER IT, AND YOURSELF.

        MOUSE DROP.

      • overtonejunkie .

        Once again, Campus Carry isn’t about the mass shootings. It’s about the more common criminals, like the home invasions, muggings, armed robberies, and attempted sexual assaults we’ve had on campus in the past few years. In addition, it allows those who ride public transport to carry on that public transport on their way to school, as well as not leave their firearms in their cars (where they are more likely to be stolen because we have a much higher rate of vehicle burglary rates than complete shakedowns of students).

        And again with the ad-hominem attacks… Why can’t you be civil instead of spiraling down to attack people’s character instead of their arguments?

  • Gank

    With regards to Texas Licensed concealed carry holders:

    Stats from the Texas DPS website. Violent crime Conviction rate for Peace Officers, CHL holders and the general public.

    2011 Stats:

    General public = 362.47 per 100,000

    Peace Officer = 103 per 100,000

    CHL holder = 23.14 per 100,000

    Yup! Peace officers in TX have a 5x higher conviction rate for violent crime than CHL holders!

    Licensed Law abiding citizens ARE NOT the problem. Its the General public that are!

    It is not mathematically possible for CHL holders carrying in an area to increase crime.

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