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In anticipation of Concealed Carry going into effect at Texas community colleges later this year, DCCCD faculty and staff voiced opinions and concerns ranging from gun-free zones to increased insurance at one of Richland College’s Concealed Carry Forums on Jan.11.

Concealed Carry Presentation at Richland College
Richland faculty Scott Branks moderated the Concealed Carry Forum at Richland on Jan. 11.

Concealed Carry, also known as Campus Carry, refers to SB 11, which permits a licensed to carry (LTC) holder to carry a concealed handgun on their person on the campus of an institution of higher education in Texas.

The law went into effect at four-year colleges and universities last August. It will go into effect at Texas community colleges, including DCCCD, Aug. 1, 2017.

Richland held its first forums yesterday, where faculty member Scott Branks served as moderator.

“Garnering your opinions, your ideas and your insights is critical to the success of this process and will help guide the development of district policy with respect to Concealed Carry,” Branks said.

The DCCCD’s Concealed Carry Committee first convened last October to help provide a framework for the district to meet the obligations of SB 11, which included developing a district webpage, a community survey and ways to learn from other colleges and universities around Texas who have already implemented the law at their campuses.

The committee is comprised of representatives from Legal, Government Affairs, Public Safety and Security, Facilities, Institutional Research, Publishing, faculty, administrators and professional support staff councils, along with liaisons from each DCCCD location.

One of the first issues brought up was how Richland was going to implement SB 11 with minors from Richland Collegiate High School on campus.

“That has been an issue that’s come up quite a bit, both with our district committee and our campus committee,” Branks said. “We did carry that question to [Texas] Attorney General Ken Paxton and he indicated that that didn’t have a bearing on the law. We are continuing to ask that question.”

Other issues brought up was where gun-free zones would be (which has yet to be decided), what to do with guns when going through a gun-free zone (DCCCD has said it will not provide lockers for guns), how four-year colleges and universities have handled SB 11 since it was implemented, the possibility seminars on gun safety and whether additional insurance and disability coverage for faculty has been discussed.

Faculty also wanted to know how enforceable the rules of SB 11 are, since the handguns are going to be concealed.

The Concealed Carry website says the penalty for an LTC holder displaying a handgun or entering a gun-free zone with a handgun is a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Branks said the survey will go out to all DCCCD staff and students Feb. 6. The information from the forums and the surveys will go to the committee, which will make its recommendation to DCCCD Chancellor Dr. Joe May. He will write the rules and regulations by no later than this May with an expected presentation to the Board for consideration and adoption in June.

The colleges will continue to hold Concealed Carry forums through the middle of February, with the next Richland forum scheduled for Jan. 31. For questions, you can visit the DCCCD Concealed Carry webpage.

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Angela Auzenne