© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Texas AG And UT-Austin At Odds Over Handguns In Dorms

Ryan E. Poppe
University of Texas

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is weighing in with a legal opinion over where public university campuses can ban the carrying of concealed handguns.  Paxton’s opinion is not legally binding.  But it does give ammunition to campus carry supporters, and puts Paxton on a collision course with the University of Texas at Austin. 

Credit Texas Public Radio

The campus carry bill passed by the state legislature’s Republican majority allows public colleges and universities to create gun-free zones when the law goes into effect next August.  But Texas’ public schools, unlike private universities, cannot choose to be completely off-limits to the licensed carrying of concealed handguns.

A UT-Austin committee is recommending concealed handguns be banned in residence halls.  In his opinion issued Monday Paxton said banning handguns in residence halls would be “in violation’ of the new law."

On a related issue the UT-Austin committee and Paxton agree. The university panel recommends allowing concealed guns inside classrooms.

Paxton said if public school try to bar concealed handguns from classrooms they would clearly be a violation of the legislation since attending class is the primary reason most people are on campuses.

While Paxton’s opinion is not legally binding it gives ammunition to campus carry supporters who believe allowing concealed firearms on campuses makes them safer. 

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.