On tragic anniversary, Texas allows guns on campus

NORTH TEXAS - 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, reports CBS Dallas. 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 Texas clock tower 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, before police killed Whitman 90 minutes later.

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Smoke rises from the sniper's gun as he fires from the tower of the University of Texas administration building in Austin, Texas, on crowds below, August 1, 1966.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Whitman, 25, a Lake Worth, Fla., native and former university student, opened fire from the 28th-floor observation deck, shooting people on the streets 231 feet below. In 2001, a Fort Worth man died of what physicians said were complications from a gunshot wound inflicted that day by Whitman, bringing the death toll to 17.

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.