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First look at possible campus carry policies

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After months of debate, students and faculty received an email Friday, Nov. 13, containing a link to a draft of the university’s campus carry policies.

Senate Bill 11, often referred to as the campus carry bill, will go into effect next fall. President Denise Trauth created a task force to draft the campus carry implementation policies that were released Nov. 13.

The policies will be shown to Trauth and eventually to the Texas State University System Board of Regents for approval.

Public forums will be hosted in the upcoming months as the university prepares for the legislation to go into effect next fall.

The forum at the Round Rock campus was held Nov. 17 in Room 252 of the Avery building from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. Two more will be hosted on the San Marcos campus Nov. 18 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the teaching theater of the LBJ Student Center and Nov. 19 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Alkek teaching theater.

One of the most debated issues throughout the process of drafting implementation policies has been the possibility of carve-out zones, or areas of the university where concealed carry is not permitted, said Michel Conroy, member of the Campus Carry Task Force.

The legislation allows for carve-out zones as long as these areas do not hinder an individual from carrying on campus.

Suggested carve-out zones for campus carry have been broken down into five categories, all of which were linked on the email sent out to students and on the president’s website.

The first category is providing services for minors, Conroy said.

Having minors in a building is not a substantial enough reason to carve a building out, Conroy said. The building has to service developmentally challenged children or be used for the housing of minors, as in the case of an overnight camp, she said.

The second carve-out zone category concerns premises that will provide counseling or health services. According to the president’s website, this includes the health and the counseling centers.

Premises used for disciplinary action and legal compliance will also be recommended for carve-out zones. This includes Avery 201, the one-stop room on the Round Rock campus, and the fifth floor of the LBJ Student Center on the San Marcos campus, according to the website.

Another category includes premises for competitive sporting events, Conroy said. This includes but is not limited to Strahan Coliseum and Bobcat Stadium, she said.

The final category prohibits the implementation of campus carry in residential areas and with official university events, Conroy said. The president’s house, Board of Regents’ meetings and the LBJ Student Center, when used as a polling place for elections, will be included in the category.

During the Nov. 11 faculty senate meeting, the fifth category was met with some resistance.

Dana Garcia, biology chair, asked why Trauth would be required to give up her as well as her successor’s Second Amendment rights while residing at the president’s house.

Conroy said the reasoning behind the recommendation was because the president often holds governmental meetings at her house.

“Do you think she would let me have my graduate classes in her house?” said Scott Bowman, criminal justice senator.  “All dissertation defenses are now at the president’s house.”

After some debate, the task force recommended the university not provide a centralized gun storage option for students, Conroy said.

The reasoning behind a centralized storage unit was aimed to provide students with an area to store their guns when at a carve-out zone, Conroy said.

Some members of the taskforce were worried that not providing centralized storage will effectively prevent some students from carrying on campus because they would not have a place to secure their guns, Bowman said.

The current draft of campus carry recommendations is not final and may change before being sent to the Board of Regents, Conroy said.