Sunday, June 07, 2015

Campus Carry: Implementation Challenges

The Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 11 which requires public universities to allow concealed handguns on their campuses.  The theory is universities are public property:  

The structure of this bill tracks with how public and private property are generally treated elsewhere in the state under the concealed carry law.
That's a low bar theory wise.  I imagine a multitude of theories on the impact of Campus Carry.  A Texas Women's University Sociology professor offered one.  Bullying students would use their concealed weapons to intimidate professors into giving them higher grades.   She was bullied for offering it.

Texas Tech University Chancellor Robert Duncan, our former state senator offered:

Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan said if the legislation does pass he would ask that public colleges have a seat at the table to discuss "exceptions" and opt-out provisions.
Consider what Angelo State University's Police Chief said in 2009:

James Adams, the ASU police chief, said the course required to obtain a concealed handgun license is not adequate training if someone were put in a highly stressful situation like a school shooting. He said he and his department oppose the legislation.

"My opposition is not the right for people to have weapons," Adams said. "My biggest concern is the level of training and process that people go through to get the training."

He said police officers receive an extraordinary amount of handgun training, and even they might have a hard time following procedure if a shooting were to occur.

Adams also said a police officer's job would be far more complicated when responding to a call where multiple people have guns.
Training for concealed handgun possession includes:

An original (first-time) CHL applicant must complete four to six hours of classroom training, pass a written examination and pass a proficiency demonstration (shooting). All classroom and proficiency must be conducted by a CHL instructor certified by DPS. See CHL Qualification Course Requirements for the proficiency demonstration requirements. There are four (4) required topics: Use of Force, Non-Violent Dispute Resolution, Handgun Use, and Safe and Proper Storage of Handguns and Ammunition
The proficiency test includes timed shooting at three target distances, 3, 5 and 15 yards.

Per HB 48 (83rd Legislature), continuing education is no longer required for CHL renewal. CHL holders will simply apply online and submit the supporting documents for discounted fees or special conditions
History shows local legislator Drew Darby taking his .380 Lugar into the Austin Airport, a prohibited area for gun possession.

A Transportation Security Administration worker flagged an Austin police officer of the discovery, who then confirmed the weapon and ammunition was in the luggage, the affidavit said. Darby told the officer the weapon and magazine belonged to him and he was a concealed pistol license holder, the affidavit said.  Darby “stated he forgot his handgun was in his bag,” the affidavit said.
Darby's case was dismissed.:

A Travis County judge has dismissed charges against State Rep. Drew Darby — after TSA agents found a gun in his carry-on bag at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in November.

"The investigation revealed (Darby) forgot to remove the gun," said Buddy Meyer, director of Trial Bureau at the Travis County District Attorney's Office.
I imagine CHL training on the "safe and proper storage of handguns and ammunition" includes knowing where they are stored at all times.  Representative Darby did not live up this part of his four to six hour CHL training when he carried his handgun into a prohibited area.

The Campus Carry bill included the following analysis:

In fiscal year 2014, 563 individuals were arrested, 38 were placed under felony community supervision, and fewer than 10 were admitted into state correctional institutions for possessing a weapon in a prohibited place. A statewide repository containing the level of detail necessary to isolate those individuals who held concealed handgun licenses and possessed concealed handguns in certain locations associated with institutions of higher education at the time of the offense from all other individuals arrested and convicted under the statute referenced by the bill is not currently available. This analysis assumes the provisions of the bill addressing felony sanctions for criminal offenses would not result in a significant impact on state correctional populations, programs, or workloads. 
Fewer than 10% of people arrested received probation or jail time, i.e. most people got the Darby treatment.

Campus Carry got its first inroads from

Senate Bill 1907
Effective: Sept. 1, 2013
Relating to the transportation and storage of firearms and ammunition by CHL holders in private vehicles on the campuses of certain institutions of higher education.
•  Prohibits a place of higher education (such as a college), from prohibiting a student from storing a handgun and / or ammunition in a vehicle on campus.
Texas universities have the challenge of deciding how to carve up their campuses into carry and no carry zones.  Parking lots are already carry zones.  We'll see how much further administrators go.

Campus police training for active shooters will be more complicated.  Procedures will be needed for identifying the shooter(s) vs. CHL holders, assuming the shooter does not hold a CHL.  Police will need to deal with students with handguns and ammunition in prohibited areas of campus in the case they pull a Darby and forget what's in their bag.  They may need to envision a student in a mental health crisis obtaining a weapon from another student with a concealed handgun license

Universities will need to consider additional training for student/faculty CHL holders as how to respond to an active shooter situation.  That is not covered under Texas CHL training.  Until the parties with guns know their role, responsibilities and how to communicate with law enforcement under an active shooter situation, universities could return to the wild, wild West.  Fortunately, there's a year to work on these issues should Governor Abbott sign the bill

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