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Texas' Campus Carry Law Now In Effect At Public Universities

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - If you have a Texas concealed handgun license you are now allowed to carry your weapon onto the campuses of public universities across the state. The new Campus Carry Law, passed in 2015, went into effect today.

State law requires all public universities to allow licensed concealed handguns owners in the classroom, but does give some leeway to schools, allowing for gun-free or exclusion zones. The rules differ from campus to campus.

At the University of Texas at Dallas you cannot have guns in five freshman dorms, but you can carry a weapon in most buildings -- including the Visitor's Center. And while you can take a handgun into the gym at UTD, they're not allowed in workout areas at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Further south at the University of Texas at Austin teachers can declare their offices as gun-free zones. Dorm residents at the university can have guns in common areas – places like dining rooms and lounges, but not sleeping areas. But that's not the case at Texas A&M University in College Station, where guns are allowed in dorm rooms.

While guns are allowed in most normal classrooms, they are banned in hospitals and all sporting events – at all public universities.

Open carry is still banned at private universities and community colleges. Campus Carry laws on those campuses don't go into effect until 2017.

Ironically, the new Campus Carry law went into effect in the Lone Star State on the 50th anniversary of the mass shooting at the University of Texas. It was in 1966 when Charles Whitman ascended the UT clock tower and randomly shot at people below. In all, 49 people were shot, 16 of them fatally. The killing spree first introduced the U.S. to the concept of a "mass shooting".

Across the country, there are now eight states, including Texas, that have provisions allowing individuals to carry licensed concealed weapons on public campuses.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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