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The Brief: June 16, 2015

Colleges are beginning to look at how they'll implement the new campus carry law, and both sides of the debate are watching what their restrictions will end up looking like.

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The Big Conversation

The legislative debate over campus carry is over, but just beginning is a months-long discussion over how campuses will go about implementing the new law.

The law, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed over the weekend, gives some flexibility to campuses, allowing them to establish gun-free zones.

Yet the law doesn't specify much about what those zones should be like, so both sides of the debate are now focused on what possible restrictions may result, reports the Tribune's Matthew Watkins:

Imposing too many restrictions would risk pushback from pro-gun groups and lawmakers, and legislators might be tempted to repeal the campus’ autonomy in 2017 if that happens. And gun rights activists say they’ll be closely watching to make sure the schools don’t go too far.

“We know that is a possibility and we are prepared to take the necessary measures to protect students, faculty and staff,” said Michael Newbern, communications director for Students for Concealed Carry.

Newbern said his nationwide group has sued universities in the past for restricting students’ gun rights. Those schools include the University of Colorado Boulder and Ohio State University.

Similar challenges are likely in Texas, said University of Houston law professor Michael Olivas, an opponent of campus carry. But the threat of litigation shouldn’t deter the schools, he said. Universities are already allowed to set up areas where students can protest or electioneer, even thought that’s protected speech, he said. Rules prohibiting guns wouldn’t be much different, he said.

Disclosure: The University of Houston is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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Quote to Note

"It’s going to be so easy to sell Texas."

— Gov. Greg Abbott on his upcoming visits across the country to try to get businesses to move to Texas, highlighting a tax package he signed into law yesterday

Today in TribTalk

Don't let Texas' excess water go to waste, by Bridget Scanlon — With more heavy rains on the way, it's time for Texas to start thinking about how to keep as much of that water as possible to prepare for the next drought.

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News From Home

Take a look at the environmental issues we kept an eye on during the 84th legislative session. You can also use our Texas Legislative Guide to see everything else we covered during the session.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation About Texas Monthly's Best and Worst Legislators 2015 on June 18 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation About Health Care and the 84th Legislature on June 24 at UT Health Science Center San Antonio

•    A Conversation About Houston and the 84th Legislature on June 29 at George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin

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