On August 1, 2016, UD instituted an official university weapons policy following the passing of the Campus Carry Bill in the Texas state legislature. The policy prohibits all faculty, staff, students and guests from legally carrying a firearm, specifically a concealed handgun, on campus. However, there is one issue that the university does not clearly address: the proper notice of the university’s policy on concealed handguns.
According to Texas law, the owner of the property, business, or institution must provide notice by written or oral communication that a handgun is prohibited. There are two common ways of doing this. The owner and those acting on his or her authority can verbally give notice to every individual or hand out written notice. More commonly, however, the business will put a 30.06 sign on every entrance of every building on the property.
Placing proper signage is the prefered method of communicating that handguns are prohibited in a given location.
UD’s anti-handgun policy is not being communicated as clearly as it should be. The policy is not easy to find on the UD website unless you are looking for it.
In order for this policy to be completely enforced properly and in accordance with the law, the school should have signs citing sections 30.06 and 30.07 of the Texas penal code, banning concealed and open carry respectively, on every entrance of every building on UD property.
Such a widespread ban would not usually align with my personal beliefs, as I lean towards constitutional conservatism. But I do believe in clarity, and in stating in no unclear terms what the laws are, particularly regarding issues that can be life-altering if there is a misunderstanding.
For a student, there is no excuse to carry a firearm in violation of the university’s policy. That much is clear. It was clearly communicated to the student body during orientation as a freshman, in multiple emails sent out regarding the campus policy, and is stated in the student handbook. Legally speaking, a student is given all the proper notice.
However, visitors are not given any notice whatsoever.
I am willing to bet that the Church of the Incarnation has at least four to five citizens who are licensed to carry at mass every Sunday.
Licensed holders do not want to break the law; if they did, they would not have spent the time, money, and training to obtain their license to carry. The law-abiding citizens who wish to carry in accordance with the law deserve clear and obvious notice that they should leave their firearms in their vehicle when visiting the UD campus.
Whether UD should allow concealed carry should no longer be the debate. What is now the focus is the protection of concealed carry holders from making an accidental mistake.