How campus carry is changing classroom climates

College administrators must outline clear policies for carrying firearms on campus

Campus carry laws are raising concerns at public colleges and universities throughout the country, Tara García Mathewson reports for Education Dive

Campuses are anticipating impending passage of new laws in:

  • Georgia, where both chambers of the state Legislature have approved a measure allowing guns in most buildings on public campuses;  
  • Tennessee, where proposed legislation would prevent institutions from retaliating against students or employees who have carry permits "solely" to keep guns in their vehicles; and
  • Texas, where public campuses will begin allowing concealed carry in classrooms this August. 

Texas tensions high a year before campus carry

Similar bills are being discussed in the legislatures in Florida, Michigan, and Ohio. 

Implementing campus carry

University administrators are bracing for the possibility of campus carry at their own schools and looking for best practices.

"Everyone is going to be looking to the states where this is now going to be permitted for guidance, for policy language, for examples of how this is being implemented on campus," says Andy Brantley, president and CEO of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

He offers the following recommendations for HR administrators in states with campus carry:

  • Establish straightforward policies and procedures to outline where firearms are and are not permitted on campus;
  • Clearly communicate all protocols; and
  • Maintain strong relationships with campus police and public safety officers as new rules are adopted.

The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) took an official position against campus carry in 2008, arguing that no evidence suggests such policies reduce violence and that they may even make campuses more dangerous.

However, William Taylor, the IACLEA president and chief of police at Collin College, says his association has learned a lot since choosing its position in 2008. He argues the track record in states that have allowed campus carry for several years does not indicate cause for concern (García Mathewson, Education Dive, 3/17). 

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