Three Texas private college presidents said Saturday that they expect their schools to opt out of a new state law allowing properly licensed students to carry concealed guns on campus.
Guns will likely remain banned at Trinity University in San Antonio, Austin College in Sherman and Paul Quinn College in Dallas next year, each institution's leader said at the Texas Tribune Festival. Rice University President David Leebron said he was still consulting with members of his campus before making a decision about the law.
The three presidents cited campus safety as the main reason for opting out.
“I don’t ever want to be a college president who has to call a parent and tell them that their child has been shot on campus,” said Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn.
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Senate Bill 11, the campus carry law passed this spring, requires colleges and universities to allow people with concealed handgun licenses to carry their weapons at school starting Aug. 1. But public schools are allowed designate some parts of their campuses as “gun free zones,” and private schools are allowed to opt out of the law entirely.
Earlier Saturday, a group of university chancellors convened for another panel said they were still working on the rules for their public schools. Most downplayed the impact of the law, saying it wouldn’t make their campuses any safer or more dangerous. Texans need to be 21 or older to have a concealed handgun license, and few students do, the chancellors said.
University of North Texas System Chancellor Lee Jackson joked that someone suggested to him that his schools ban guns on all parts of campus where alcohol is served — and then begin serving alcohol in all campus buildings. Those kinds of drastic measures won't be needed, he said, adding that the people who commit crimes on campus are rarely concealed license holders.
Chancellor Robert Duncan said he’d likely push for increased training for people who want to carry handguns on his campuses in the Texas Tech University System. The university won't be able to require that, he said, but he hopes students will be willing to learn about how they should handle an active shooter situation.
“The concern I have is the lack of training CHL holders will have in this environment,” he said.