Regents approve Lamar concealed handgun policy

handgun in holster

At its May 26 meeting, the 10-member Texas State University System Board of Regents approved the official concealed handgun policy for Lamar University students, employees and visitors that will go into effect Aug. 1.

The policy, created to comply with Senate Bill 11 and now posted online, pertains to individuals licensed to carry a handgun under Texas law. The policy addresses concealed carry of handguns only. Open carry of handguns remains unlawful on the LU campus or premises.

“Lamar University is committed to maintaining a welcoming and safe educational environment for students, employees and visitors,” said Kevin Smith, senior associate provost. “We’ve worked hard to draft policy that meets the intent of Senate Bill 11 balanced with specific and reasonable circumstances that require the exclusion of handguns.”

Smith, who served as a member of the TSUS task force on campus carry, was chair of the LU Task Force formed in summer of 2015 comprised of students, faculty and staff representatives. The LU group studied the law, conducted surveys and held town hall meetings for faculty, staff and students with the goal of collecting information to make the best decisions in creating a policy specific to the LU campus community, Smith said.

“We have worked very hard to ensure we have heard the many voices on this issue,” Smith said.

Under the new policy, places and events where licensed concealed carry will be prohibited are:

• Concealed carry is prohibited on LU premises associated with high school, collegiate, professional and interscholastic events.

• Concealed carry is prohibited in the residence hall rooms, offices, classrooms and activities of the university’s Texas Academy for Leadership in the Humanities, participants in which are high school aged students.

• Concealed carry is prohibited in university-designated health and mental health counseling facilities such as the Lamar University Student Health Center and Psychology Department Counseling Clinic.

• Concealed carry is prohibited in university-designated disciplinary/personnel facilities to include the Student Disciplinary Hearing Office and Employee Hearing Office.

• Concealed carry is prohibited on Lamar University premises associated with governmental meetings as well as the Lamar University Police Department.

Consistent with the law, the university president may also temporarily designate other LU premises excluded from concealed carry based on safety considerations. In addition, there may be other areas in which federal or state law, licensing or contract requirements prohibit the carry of handguns.

In all cases, oral or written notice will be given as to where license holders may not carry a concealed handgun. Under the law a notice must be posted at the entrance of an area in which the carrying of a concealed handgun is prohibited.

The new policy states that intentional or knowing display of a handgun in plain view of another person is a criminal offense that could result in arrest and prosecution, student discipline up to expulsion, or for employees, discipline up to and including termination.

LU students with a license to carry a concealed handgun who live in a university residence hall must have and use a gun safe approved by the LU Police Department.

The policy also seeks to ensure that handguns are carried and stored in the safest way possible, and always under the direct control of the licensed individual.

— Lamar University