Author: GSBS | Category: Around Campus | July 14, 2016
The University of Texas System Board of Regents reviewed rules and regulations for UT institutions that will govern the implementation of Senate Bill 11, also known as the campus carry law.
The board made one modification to UT Austin’s policy – striking the university’s requirement that a concealed carry license holder who carries a semi-automatic handgun on campus must do so without a chambered round of ammunition.
The motion to strike the requirement was based on information from weapon safety experts who raised concerns that creating a scenario where people may need to unload their guns prior to entering a building on campus could lead to unsafe situations, such as an accidental discharge.
The board made no changes to the policies submitted by all other UT institutions, meaning they will go into effect as presented Aug. 1.
To read more from the UT System article, click here.
What does this mean for the UT Health Science Center?
In developing the Health Science Center policy, President William Henrich solicited input from many sources, including representatives of faculty and students from each of the schools at the Health Science Center.
The plan designates “gun-free zones” in the following areas:
- Medical School
- Dental School
- Nursing School
- Briscoe Library
- Basic Science Building
- Pestana Lecture Hall
- Academic Learning & Teaching Center
- Academic and Administration Building
- South Texas Research Facility
- Center for Oral Healthcare
- Cancer Therapy & Research Center
- McDermott Clinical Science Building
- Medical Arts & Research Center
- Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute
- Research Administration Building
All exclusion zones are explained here. Maps and lists of excluded and included buildings can be found here.
A basic challenge regarding implementing campus carry at the Health Science Center is that our campuses are heterogeneous with regard to missions; i.e., there are, in most buildings, active laboratories adjacent to clinical care areas adjacent to classrooms. In addition, many of the buildings on campus are connected by short hallways and corridors, and thus are not free-standing. This configuration of the buildings adds to the complexity of implementing campus carry.
The guiding principles that inform Dr. Henrich's decisions regarding the implementation of this law for the Health Science Center at San Antonio were sent in a letter, described below. The key elements of the plan are:
- We will exclude campus carry in areas analogous to state law requirements where concealed handguns may be excluded:
- All patient-care areas, including simulation centers which are used to educate students in the art of patient examination;
- Areas where organized programs for K-12 students are held on campus;
- Laboratories where the discharge of a handgun might cause widespread harm such as laboratories with dangerous chemicals including biologic or explosive agents, and animal care areas including vivaria;
- We will exclude the fitness facility on the Health Science Center’s Long Campus. This facility is not operated by the Health Science Center, but by a third-party vendor, Gold’s Gym. This decision followed a strong recommendation on the part of the Working Group because it is difficult for patrons to easily conceal a handgun in workout attire. In addition, the lockers in Gold’s Gym are not sufficiently secure for gun storage.
- We will exclude from campus carry space or buildings that are connected by hallways or corridors to other excluded areas cited above. For example, we will exclude from campus carry areas of contiguous space that are impossible, or significantly difficult, to cordon off and where to do so would impede heavy foot traffic and inhibit commerce.
- For the Regional Campus Laredo (RCL), due to the large number of minors who visit the campus during the summer months, we will prohibit guns on campus in both RCL buildings in June, July and August. When there are visits by minors expected at other times during the year, such as Spring Break, the Regional Dean may elect to post signage indicating that concealed carry is prohibited during those times.
- The decision to allow handguns in spaces that are leased but not owned by the Health Science Center will be left up to the property owners who will be required to post pertinent signage.
- The Health Science Center will not provide a weapons storage depot at campus facilities.
- Areas where concealed carry is prohibited will be marked by signage that conforms to Section 30.06 of the Texas Penal Code.
- Individuals with a concealed handgun license must comply with all gun safety precautions while on campus. This includes holsters covering triggers with sufficient tension on the grip to ensure that jostling the gun in a back pack or handbag will not lead to inadvertent discharge.
Four maps of separate segments of the Health Science Center campus are provided (uthscsa.edu/campuscarry) which depict a color-coded key to places where concealed carry is/is not permitted. This site also includes other information about campus carry that you might find helpful.
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