Campus carry is in full effect at all Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) campuses. Gun owners with a concealed handgun license (CHL) are legally allowed to carry their guns into campus classrooms and buildings as long as they are concealed. The law went into effect at public four-year universities last year and on Aug. 1 at all Texas community and junior colleges.
“The law is the law and it will be followed. That’s what the legislature passed and that’s what is going to be allowed and that’s how it is going to be,” said Robert Baker, chief of Richland’s police department. “There is nothing we can do about the law. We can only enforce it,” he added.
There are specific areas or “safe zones” where guns will not be allowed on campus. Richland President Dr. Kay Eggleston said in an email that “a preliminary list of the areas identified as exclusion zones include: board meetings, childcare and counseling centers, disciplinary hearing rooms (may be a different site on different occasions), district vehicles, fitness and healthcare centers, laboratories where flammable or combustible materials are used (includes tech areas such as automotive), polling places and sporting events. Even colleges with high schools must abide by the law, with some exceptions.
Police are anticipating reactions as students, faculty and staff see the law take effect. “We expect to hear people say they have seen a weapon but if it is not an intentional showing it’s not a violation of the law,” said Baker. “We as a department have played each and every scenario and have gone to some training and have piggybacked on some of the four-year universities.”
The Richland police department will operate as usual with heightened awareness to the concerns of students, faculty and staff.
Some students on campus are excited about the new law.
“With the violence and what we’ve been seeing in the news, I am happy that I will be able to protect myself in case of a situation,” said Andrew Castillo, a Chronicle staff writer.
“What we saw at the University of Texas at Austin [the May 3 stabbing that left one dead and three injured] could have been prevented if someone had a gun to protect themselves and the students around them.”
Some students are very concerned and object to the new law.
“I don’t like the idea that people can have guns on campus. How about if someone is not stable to hold a gun? Or, if they just decided to start shooting at people on campus? Just imagine the concern for the faculty and staff,” said Richland student Crystal Gamez.
The DCCCD Board of Trustees in June approved the district’s concealed carry policy.
According to Board of Trustees minutes, 40 separate forums were held district wide with more than 9,000 students and employees participating. The complete policy may be viewed online at pol.tasb.org/Policy/Download/358?filename=CHF%28LOCAL%29.pdf