ALERRT Center warns CHL holders ahead of Campus Carry law

Law allowing guns on campuses could affect officer response to active shooters

By Myra Arthur - Anchor/Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Carrying guns on college campuses and campus buildings will be legal in Texas as of Aug. 1, 2016.

Dr. Pete Blair, executive director of Texas State University’s ALERRT Center -- or Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Center -- has a warning for concealed handgun license holders who plan to carry guns on campus.

“If there’s an active shooter event and you're a person with a gun, you look like the active shooter,” Blair said. “You need to know that. You need to be aware of that. You need to know that if police see you with a gun, there's a high probability that you will be shot.”

Supporters of the campus carry law argue guns in campus buildings could help stop an active shooter and save lives.

But there is also concern it could increase danger for would-be heroes.

“They come out in the hallway, they confront each other because they don’t know who the shooter is,” Blair said. “So that creates the possibility of them confronting each other saying, 'You put your gun down.' 'No, you put your gun down.'"

The law allows each university president to draft its own gun policy, which must be in place by Aug. 1, 2016.

So campus to campus, the rules may differ.

In the worst case scenarios, it could be up to officers to tell the difference in good guys versus bad.

“Active shooter situations are extremely dangerous to the responding officers,” Blair said. “So there is danger of them being shot. So they’re not going to have a lot of time to sort that out.”

Blair adds that CHL holders who carry weapons on campuses should only use their firearms as a last line of defense if and when they are directly faced with a shooter.

“Just like any normal person in an active shooter event, first try to avoid the shooter. Get out of there,” he said. “If they can’t get out, for example, they’re in an office and they hear gunfire and they’re worried if they go out in the hallway they'll be shot. We tell you to deny access to that location. And as their last resort, they should defend themselves.”

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