Campus Carry - SB11 Frequently Asked Questions
What is the current law for carrying handguns on campus and when will that change?
Currently, firearms are not permitted in any university building. A person commits an offense under Texas Penal Code § 46.03 if the person possesses a firearm on the premises of the University. Premises is defined as “a building or portion of a building” and does not include “any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk, or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area.” The new campus carry law that was signed by Governor Abbott on June 13, 2015 will allow persons with a state mandated concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a concealed handgun in certain areas on campus beginning on August 1, 2016 so long as the area has not been designated by the University as a weapons free area. Back
What is the “campus carry” law?
On June 13, 2015 Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill No. 11 (S.B. 11), also known as the "campus carry" law. S.B. 11 amends Section 411.2031 of the Texas Government Code to allow carrying of handguns by license holders on college campuses beginning on August 1, 2016. While the University President may not generally prohibit license holders from carrying concealed weapons on the campus, the law gives public universities some discretion to regulate campus carry including designating certain areas on campus where concealed handguns are prohibited. The law authorizes the University to adopt and receive approval of its campus carry policy from the Board of Regents by August 1, 2016. Back
Who can carry a concealed weapon on campus under S.B. 11?
After the University has implemented its campus carry policy and the law takes effect on August 1, 2016, only persons with a state-mandated concealed handgun license (CHL) are allowed to carry a concealed weapon on campus so long as the area has not been designated as a weapons free area. A person must be at least 21 years of age, undergo training and meet other statutory requirements to obtain a CHL in the State of Texas. Back
What is the difference between “campus carry” and “open carry”?
In addition to authorizing campus carry, in 2015 the Texas Legislature made revisions to the Penal Code to allow license holders to openly carry a handgun in various locations in the State of Texas starting January 1, 2016. Back
While a license holder can visibly carry their handgun in a waist belt holster or a shoulder holster under the “open carry” law, S.B. 11 only addresses “campus carry” to give license holders the right to carry handguns in a concealed manner on the University campus starting August 1, 2016. “Open carry” will still be prohibited on the University campus and any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area of the University. Back
Will University faculty and staff be allowed to carry concealed weapons?
The campus carry law does not prohibit university faculty and staff from carrying a concealed weapon beginning on August 1, 2016 so long as it is consistent with the University’s campus carry policy that will be implemented by August 1, 2016. As mandated by S.B. 11, the University is responsible for promulgating guidelines for campus carry, including the extension of this privilege to faculty and staff. Back
Does the law allow for open carry?
S.B. 11 addresses only concealed handgun carry on college campuses after August 1, 2016, and does NOT allow open carry. Thus, under Texas law, it will continue to be illegal to display a firearm inside campus buildings or on campus streets, parking lots, sidewalks, walkways, etc. Back
What process will the University use to develop the mandated campus carry policy?
The University has charged a 15-member Campus Carry Work Group with the responsibility to develop a campus carry policy that is compliant with S.B. 11, addresses the safety and welfare of university students and the campus community, and that is based upon input obtained from campus constituents. Back
The Work Group is comprised of representatives from each of the following University departments or groups: Faculty Senate; Student Government; Staff Council; Chief of Police; Office of the General Counsel; Human Resources; Academic Affairs; Student Affairs; Student Housing and Residential Life; Athletics; Administration and Finance; Research; and a university student. Back
What is the Work Group’s timeframe for developing the policy?
The Work Group will hold its first meeting in September 2015 with a goal of completing an initial draft of the policy by end of year. The initial draft will be submitted to the University President for input. The Work Group plans to seek approval from the Board of Regents by May 2016 and the approved policy must be in effect beginning August 1, 2016. Back
Can I carry a concealed weapon at sporting events?
No, S.B. 11 and the Texas Penal Code prohibit a license holder from carrying a concealed weapon at an on campus sporting event. Back
How does the law affect University residence halls, dormitories, and sorority and fraternity housing?
The law covers concealed carry only on campus and the buildings owned or leased by the University. S.B. 11, therefore, does not affect privately owned fraternity or sorority houses or private residential facilities, and the University is not authorized to enact rules or regulations regarding concealed carry in any of these areas. Back
How will the University determine which areas to allow weapons?
The Work Group will consider many factors in making recommendations as to where concealed weapons will be allowed on campus, including the size, purpose, and safety concerns related to each University-owned building and facility. In addition, the Work Group will take into account
the student body population and the uniqueness of the campus environment as well as comments to a survey made available to the University community. There must be a reasonable justification for each location restricting concealed carry. Back
How will areas be designated weapon-free?
S.B. 11 requires that the University give notice to license holders for each building restricting the concealed carry of a weapon. Notice is defined under Texas Penal Code Section 30.06 to include a sign that:
(1) contains this language "Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun.”
(2) Is written in both English and Spanish;
(3) Is written with contrasting colors and with block letters at least one inch in height; and
(4) Is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.
An example of such a sign is included below.
Can I provide suggestions and comments regarding the policy?
The University welcomes the input of faculty, staff, students, its stakeholders and the surrounding UH communities. An online survey is availalble to receive your comments and the University will hold a public forum in the coming months. Also, if you have any comments or questions, you can direct those comments and questions to email@example.com. Back
Will students receive safety training on gun use?
CHL holders are required to complete state mandated safety courses to aquire the license. Back
What happens if someone violates the University’s campus carry policy?
Under S.B. 11, a person who fails to comply with the concealed handgun rules and regulations prescribed by the University will be in violation of the Texas Penal Code and criminal charges will be brought against the violator. Back