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Blinn College officials expect business as usual as campus carry law goes into effect

Campus carry, legal at Texas public universities since August 2016, goes into effect at Texas public community colleges Tuesday, Aug. 1

July 31, 2017

Much like the universities across the state that implemented campus carry last summer, Blinn College officials anticipate business as usual Tuesday, Aug. 1, the first day in which campus carry will be legal on Texas community college campuses.

Senate Bill 11, also known as the “campus carry” law, was passed during the 84th Texas Legislature and allows concealed handgun license holders to carry concealed handguns at Texas higher education institutions. The law became effective for four-year public universities in August 2016, and goes into effect at Texas community colleges – including all four Blinn College campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy – on Tuesday, August 1, 2017.

While concealed carry will become active on that date, the open carrying of firearms remains illegal at Texas public universities and community colleges.

“Campus carry already has been implemented at universities across the state with little or no disruption,” said John Chancellor, Blinn College Police Chief. “Thanks to the efforts of Blinn administrators, faculty, and staff, and regular communication across the district, our implementation plan and College policies will continue to make safety the top priority at every Blinn College location.”

Senate Bill 11 allowed college presidents and CEOs to establish reasonable rules for restricted zones on campus while incorporating feedback from faculty, staff, students, and the community. To assist in this task, Blinn established a 34-member Campus Carry Task Force representing administrators, faculty, staff, and students from the College’s four campuses. During the spring, this task force presented Blinn Chancellor Dr. Mary Hensley a 245-page report detailing its research and public input, and outlining its recommendations for campus carry guidelines at Blinn College. Texas A&M Assistant Vice President for Safety and Security Chris Meyer met with members of Blinn’s Campus Carry Task Force on multiple occasions to provide recommendations and answer questions.

The Blinn Board of Trustees approved the new campus carry policies in April.

“I would like to commend the Campus Carry Task Force for the countless hours of research and discussion that provided the foundation for Blinn’s campus carry policies,” Hensley said. “The Task Force’s efforts have helped to ensure that all Blinn College locations remain a safe environment for students, employees, and campus visitors.”

The Task Force designed its recommendations to allow campus carry unless specific extenuating circumstances required exceptions. Whenever possible, Blinn’s Task Force recommendations matched the policies established at Texas A&M University to prevent confusion for the significant number of students who co-enroll at both institutions.

Blinn’s policy prohibits concealed carry on the second floor of the Health Science Center due to the presence of hands-on labs that require physical contact, as well as MRI and x-ray machines that pose a safety risk with the presence of firearms.

The policy also bans concealed carry at UIL-sponsored events and sporting events, where firearms are already banned by Texas Penal Code Subsection 46.035(b)(2).

Concealed carry will be banned during any grievance process, appeal proceeding involving a disinterested third-party committee gathering testimony from the involved parties, or the formal hearing portion of the total process, as detailed in Board policy and administrative regulations.

Signage in accordance with Texas Penal Code 30.06 will be posted clearly identifying locations where concealed carry is prohibited. All such signage will be posted by the Blinn College Police Department.

Members of the Blinn College Campus Carry Task Force and Police Department will host forums for students, faculty, and the public discussing the College’s campus carry policies on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 8 – Bryan Campus Student Center, Room F-120, noon.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 9 – Brenham Campus Student Center, Conference Room, noon.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 30 – Bryan Campus Student Center, Room F-120, noon.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 30 – Brenham Campus Student Center, Conference Room, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 7 – Bryan Campus Student Center, Room F-120, noon.
  • Thursday, Sept. 7 – Brenham Campus Student Center, Conference Room, 6 p.m.

A video presentation will be shared with students and faculty on all campuses, and a presentation will be made to all Blinn faculty at Faculty Convocation. For more information about campus carry at Blinn College, visit www.blinn.edu/campus-carry.