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Campus carry--what's in your bookbag?

In June, Texas became the eighth state to allow faculty and students to carry concealed handguns into buildings on public college campuses.

The bill, which was enacted over opposition from university officials, prevents schools from prohibiting firearms but allows administrators to establish "reasonable" regulations and ban guns from certain buildings. To carry a concealed weapon, students must be at least 21 and have a permit.

At least 15 other states introduced legislation this year to allow some degree of concealed carry on college campuses. Most bills failed, but legislation is still pending in Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Nineteen states have gone the opposite direction and have banned concealed weapons on college campuses, and in the other 23 states, the decision is left up to the college or university.

There are some variations in the laws. The Kansas legislation prohibits colleges and universities from banning concealed weapons unless buildings have "adequate security measures." Institutions' governing boards, however, may prohibit concealed weapons for up to four years by applying for and receiving an exemption from the law. Arkansas allows only faculty to carry guns, if a college's governing board doesn't object.

Supporters of concealed carry laws claim they protect the rights of licensed gun owners and may help save lives during an emergency. Opponents ague that allowing guns on campus does nothing to enhance safety and only increases the risk of injury.

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Title Annotation:TRENDS
Author:Hultin, Suzanne
Publication:State Legislatures
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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