(Austin, TX) – The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus issued the following statement in connection with the ability to legally open carry long guns on college campuses, and yesterday’s opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton that guns cannot be banned in dorms.

The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus has confirmed with multiple sources[1] that individuals – without permit – may openly carry long guns on college campuses in Texas.

“On Saturday, December 12, 2015 on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin, many open-carry demonstrators were seen on campus property openly carrying semi-automatic rifles. The language of the Texas Penal Code, HB 910 (Open Carry) and SB 11 (Campus Carry), confirms that the open carry of long guns (i.e. semi-automatic rifles) is permissible on college campuses, but not in buildings. The language in the previously mentioned sources only indicates the ban of the open carry of handguns on college property.

The area that unlicensed individuals may openly carry long guns includes “any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education.”[2]

While we have been reassured that the open carry of long guns will not be permitted inside buildings (even after the institution of SB 11), we are dismayed that they may be carried outside in public spaces. We are relieved that the authors of both SB 11 and HB 910 were careful enough to ensure that the open carry of handguns will not be permitted anywhere on campus.

At a time where colleges and universities are constantly going under lockdown for the presence of weapons, this law can only cause more confusion and perhaps even lead to unnecessary violence should a concealed permit holder view this as a threat. We also hope that when it comes to carrying a long gun openly on campus, common sense will prevail. Ultimately, we hope that this does not end in a tragedy.

The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus takes issue with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s decision that handguns cannot be banned in dormitories on campus.

In a non-binding opinion issued on December 21, 2015, Attorney General Ken Paxton stated under the new campus carry law (SB 11), handguns cannot be banned in dormitories. This is in response to Sen. Brian Birdwell’s request to Paxton for his opinion on the language of SB 11. Paxton’s opinion also goes against the recently submitted recommendations from President Fenves at UT Austin that included a blanket ban of handguns in all dorms on campus.

Paxton’s interpretation of SB 11 obviously does not take safety and security into consideration, rather, it opens the door for unintended consequences. Neither Paxton’s opinion, nor the language of SB 11 require a student or university to secure the weapon in a locked safe. Additionally, without the proper storage of these handguns, any person, not just the gun owner, now has access to the firearm which can result in suicide, murder, unintentional injury, or theft.

Because Paxton’s opinion is non-binding, we encourage universities to remain steadfast by recommending that dorms are designated gun-free.

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[1] Legislative staff, legislative attorney, and police administration

[2] Texas Penal Code 46.


The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus was founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to push loaded, concealed guns onto college campuses. To date, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and more than 420 colleges and universities in 42 states have joined the Campaign. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.


Texas: Julie A. Gavran, [email protected]

National: Andy Pelosi, [email protected]  (914-629-6726)