Campus Carry took effect in Texas on August 1. That means when students head back to University of Texas' campus Wednesday, some upperclassmen could be carrying.
The law adds on to the existing ‘concealed carry’ rules, allowing students older than 21 with a concealed carry license to carry on campus and in some campus buildings.
While the University of Texas Police has been preparing for this change for more than a year, Assistant Chief Peter Scheets said he doesn't think much will change.
"The police officers have been responding to those [Concealed Carry] calls since Texas implemented concealed handgun policy back in 1995," he said.
Bob Harkins, the UT Associate Vice President of Campus Safety and Security, echoed Scheets and said the school is expecting little change.
But in anticipation of the possible outcomes, they've worked to educate students throughout the summer and have created a webpage dedicated to UT Campus Carry.
Both said the biggest question left to address is how to safely respond to a situation where a student legally draws a gun and how to determine what is legally allowed.
"Under the Texas Penal Code, you can use deadly force or the threat of deadly force to protect and individual, yourself or others from the threat of bodily injury or death. That's your standard," Scheets said.
But, he said, the reality can be more nuanced.
"We went through training with officers in terms of how they are going to respond," he said. "How are they going to make contact? How are they going to make sure the response is safe for both the students, officers and the subjects we're contacting?"
To help answer that question, UTPD officers have undergone more updated training such as that done by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training center in San Marcos (ALERRT).
"There is an awareness factor from our point of view when training law enforcement," ALERRT Executive Director Pete Blair Said. "They understand there could be a 'Good Guy' in there that is trying to do the right thing and stop a bad guy. Officers need to be aware of that and the potential for confusion there."
Blair said training also applies to the students.
"Those carrying need to seriously think about whether they are identifiable to law enforcement, or would the look like the shooter," he said.
Blair, Harkins and Scheets all agreed that situations could vary, but wanted all students who might carry to know that using a gun in defense should be the last resort.
"I think everybody who is licensed to carry understands that when they draw the weapon out, they're responsible for the actions that follow pulling the weapon out."