SAN ANTONIO – On Sept. 1, HB466 went into effect. The bill was an amendment to an existing statute, which will now allow the legal carry of clubs, knuckles and defense-keychains. Because of the amendment to the law, students may bring their self-defense items to Texas public campuses.
Since Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) is a private campus they have the option to continue the ban or not (opt-in or opt-out). When Texas changed the laws regarding firearms on campus, OLLU decided to opt-out. Now, OLLU decided to continue with that precedent and not change the list of prohibited items on campus.
The list of weapons prohibited for campus includes knives longer than five inches, firearms, clubs, and even mace (pepper spray). The OLLU handbook uses vague and confusing verbiage for what is considered a weapon; which is disconcerting because all weapons are banned from campus, not just the items listed in the handbook.
The handbook states that a “weapon is defined as any object that by use, design or definition may be utilized to inflict harm or injury upon another individual or animal.” The first guideline to the definition is a weapon is defined “by use” sets up some confusing understanding to the guideline. Does the statute mean if it can be used as a weapon then it is a weapon, or does it mean the common use of an item? The rule is written in a manner that almost anything can be banned on campus.
Freshman Brianna Mendoza said, “Weapons don’t belong on the OLLU campus” and is glad that OLLU didn’t make an exception to brass knuckles and clubs but does feel pepper spray is something she would be willing to carry for protection. Sophomore Adriana Medina said, that she personally wouldn’t carry knuckles or defensive keychains, but “doesn’t really want to tell others what to carry for defense.”
It seems that it may be time to review the OLLU student handbook to clarify what is allowed and what is not on campus, and maybe even update the list to allow students the opportunity to defend themselves with mace (pepper spray).
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