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UT-Austin Faculty To Be Able To Ban Guns In Offices

Bob Daemmrich
Texas Tribune
Stephanie Odam of Austin marches in a campus carry protest in Austin in January 2015.

The University of Texas at Austin will give its faculty and staff the option of banning guns from their private offices when the state’s campus carry law goes into effect next month, under regulations that UT System regents passed Wednesday.

The regents voted down a contentious proposal, however, that would have banned handguns with chambered rounds of ammunition at UT-Austin.

The regents on Wednesday discussed how the system's 14 campuses will regulate concealed handguns under Senate Bill 11, commonly known as campus carry. The law, which takes effect Aug. 1, allows people with concealed handgun licenses to bring their firearms onto public college campuses in Texas, except for limited “gun-free zones” designated by the universities.

University presidents were tasked with crafting how their schools would implement the law, subject to change by a two-thirds vote of the regents. 

Under the rules, all schools in the UT system will permit concealed carry in classrooms, but prohibit it in some other areas, such as laboratories that use dangerous chemicals, child-care facilities and ticketed sporting events for those that have them. Guns will not be allowed in dormitories at some schools, including UT-Austin.

UT-Austin President Greg Fenves had previously argued that a chambered round provision, which would have prohibited people carrying on campus to keep a bullet in their gun chambers, was needed to prevent guns from accidentally firing off. But Doug DuBois Jr., the executive director of Texas State Rifle Association, had argued in testimony Wednesday that the provision “would contribute to more confusion and less safety among licensees.”

The UT-Austin proposal to allow faculty and staff to keep guns out of their private offices was also controversial, but it passed after some debate and a motion to override it failed.

In May, the UT regents met with the expectation of approving proposed rules for each of the system’s campuses, but instead argued over details, ultimately postponing a vote.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas System have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here

The Texas Tribune provided this story.