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Campus carry to cost $10 million? Uh — not hardly

One of the complaints against against allowing “campus carry” of concealed weapons in college buildings never made a lot of sense.

When college leaders campaigned against letting licensed adults 21 and over carry a firearm, they warned ominously that signage and safety measures would cost Texans $10 million or more per year.

So far, the cost of allowed licensed carry is less than $1 million statewide, and less than $20,000 locally.

Mostly, that’s gone to buy signs for the few state university campus areas that remain restricted under the law, which went into effect Aug. 1.

Texas’ 1 million-plus licensees were already allowed to carry guns openly almost anywhere else in the state except places such as bars, sports events or a court facility.

So why would it have cost taxpayers $10 million to let the same licensees carry a weapon into a college building?

What colleges report so far is the same result Texans saw last year when licensees were allowed the choice to “open carry” weapons off-campus outside or inside a jacket: almost no change at all.

One gun owned by a licensee has gone off. That was last week in the Integrity Hall dormitory at Tarleton State University, a Stephenville campus that is part of the Texas A&M University system.

Nobody was hurt. Officials described the damage as minimal.

That sounds much like the few campus handgun incidents a University of Texas campus committee found in a report last year.

In the seven other states where campus weapons are legal, the committee found only four times total when a licensee’s handgun has gone off on campus: twice when the licensee was showing off the weapon, and twice when a weapon went off in a pocket.

Few students are licensed, and accidents are rare involving trained and licensed gun owners.

The greatest risk to Texans is now from a misguided effort by some lawmakers to eliminate those handgun training requirements and state licensing completely.

If Texans are unable to rely on a training and licensing system that has worked well for 21 years, college leaders will not be alone in predicting a high cost.

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