Houston Baptist Opts Out of Campus Carry

Houston Baptist University is the latest private university in Texas to opt out of the campus carry bill.

"At this time, given the known and unknown aspects of the law, and the possible financial impact of its implementation, the University will retain its current policy restricting the carrying of firearms on campus to licensed police officers," Houston Baptist said in a press release. 

It's unclear what exactly the university means when it says there are "unknown aspects of the law," but it probably has something to do with the ongoing confusion regarding where and when people can actually carry weapons in Texas. However, most of that confusion relates to public spaces that may be included by the bill's rather ambiguous language exempting certain locations from the statewide open carry law — properties like multi-purpose courthouses or public college dorms or privately owned entities that sit on public land, like the Houston Zoo.

Attorney General Ken Paxton is slowly working his way through a long list of questions sent his way about whether certain properties are allowed to opt out. Just last week, for example, Paxton ruled that open carry cannot be banned in river authority parks.

But the open carry law for college campuses clearly allows private universities the chance to opt out, and more than 20 private universities, including Rice, the University of St. Thomas, Southern Methodist, Texas Christian and Baylor, have decided not to allow guns. Houston Baptist's president, Robert B. Sloan, indicated that the school would maintain its ban while taking more of a wait-and-see approach. In its release, the school said it "retains its right to reconsider this position as conditions change in the future."

“At this time, the prudent course of action is to wait until all of the variables have been clarified," Sloan said in the statement. "Continuing our existing policy for the time being would seem to best serve the interests of this University.”

So, guns aren't allowed at Houston Baptist...for now.
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Leif Reigstad