The University of Texas president approved plans on Wednesday that would allow for licensed concealed handgun holders to bring pistols into classrooms, saying he has been forced to do so under a new law approved by the state’s leaders.
On Aug. 1, 2016, a so-called state “campus carry” law goes into effect allowing people 21 and older with a concealed handgun license to carry handguns in classrooms and buildings throughout the University of Texas system, one of the nation’s largest with an enrollment of more than 214,000 students.
“I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date,” University of Texas President Gregory Fenves said in a statement.
The new policies set aside places in the university system that would be gun exclusion zones, such as certain laboratories and patient healthcare areas, where the carrying of handguns would be prohibited.
Classrooms will not be included in the exclusion zones under the 25 recommendations the president approved.
Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has said the law could prevent mass shootings because someone with a licensed concealed weapon could be on campus ready to confront a potential gunman.