BEAUMONT, Texas — More than 600 new laws went into effect Wednesday in Texas. However, a Beaumont university is letting students know that while state rules have changed, theirs have not.
House Bill 1927, which allows most Texans to carry a handgun without a permit or license, was one of the new laws that went into effect.
Lamar University has had the same conceal carry policy in place since 2016, and because of state law, it cannot be changed. Texas Senate Bill 11 states that on college and university campuses, students are allowed to carry a handgun as long as the gun is concealed, and the gun owner has a license to carry.
With the Lamar University Police Department already receiving questions from students pertaining to the law, university police released a statement saying that although “permitless carry” is in place, no changes are being made to the university policy, Sergeant Jarrod Samford said.
“The law hasn’t really changed anything for us,” Samford said. “Campus carry is still the same campus carry since 2016. Law enforcement should be the only ones who are actually open-carrying on campus. If it is seen, there needs to a badge really close to it.”
One reason why Texas’ new law excludes state campuses is because officials want to ensure that those who carry on campus know how to safely carry.
“They want to make sure that they have trained individuals who are carrying the fires, because they’re going to know the safeties of it,” Ricky Jimenez, owner of Guard and Defend Firearms, said. “They’re going to know their gun. They’re going to know when they can and cannot use it.”
Some students at Lamar University are grateful that Senate Bill 11 does not allow for permitless carry on Texas college campuses.
“It does make me feel safer, because the fact that not everybody and anybody can just bring a gun over here like you have to the proper licenses, the proper registration to hold a concealed weapon,” a Lamar University student said.
University students also said that Senate Bill 11 makes the job keeping staff an students safe easier for Lamar Police.
“It does make it easier to notice for the LUPD and security officers to notice, ‘Okay, this person has brought a firearm, and they’re not supposed to have it,’ if they’re clearly not following the laws of licensing,” a Lamar University student said.
Written by Dominique Leh, Tiana Johnson (KBMT)