Concealed-handgun license holders may carry guns into classrooms and faculty and administrative offices at the University of Houston, according to a draft policy released Tuesday by an on-campus working group. The policy prohibits guns in most residence halls, sporting venues, disciplinary hearings, and health and mental health facilities. The University of Texas at Austin’s campus carry policy, released last month, also allows guns into classrooms, despite many faculty members’ concerns about in-class safety. Houston’s policy is striking, given that its Faculty Senate last month circulated recommendations about how to teach under campus carry that many said had serious implications for academic freedom and free speech. But the policy isn’t surprising, given that Texas’s new law allowing for concealed weapons in campus buildings is clear that guns can’t be banned outright from most areas.
The law takes effect this summer for public universities and next summer for public colleges. Private institutions may opt out of the law, and virtually all have. Students for Concealed Carry, a national advocacy group, said in a statement that it largely approved of Houston's draft policy but took issue with the establishment of exclusion zones in areas used for day cares and school activities, "including areas frequently used by minor children." The task force "seems to have operated under the assumption that licensed concealed carry cannot be allowed anywhere children are likely to be present," the group said. "This was clearly never the intent of the Texas Legislature, which saw fit to allow licensed concealed carry in movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, grocery stores, restaurants, all state museums, all public libraries and even the Texas Capitol."
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