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Campus Carry - SB11 Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

What is the law for carrying handguns on campus and when will that change?
Beginning August 1, 2016, the new campus carry law that was signed by Governor Abbott on June 13, 2015 allows persons with a state mandated concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a concealed handgun in certain areas on campus so long as the area has not been designated by the University as an exclusion zone. The University’s campus carry policy that lists the areas designated as exclusion zones can be found here:

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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 authorized the University to adopt its campus carry policy after presenting it to, and receiving feedback from, the University community and the Board of Regents. The campus carry policy was presented to the Board during the UHS Board of Regent meeting in May of 2016. The University’s campus carry policy that lists the areas designated as exclusion zones can be found here:

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What limitations can universities place on concealed license holders?
The new campus carry legislation gives universities the ability to determine when and where carrying a concealed firearm is and is not appropriate on their campus. In accordance with Texas Government Code 411.2031, those determinations must be made with feedback from the university community. Texas public higher education institutions may prohibit concealed handgun license holders from carrying handguns by creating exclusion zones on certain areas of campus. The University’s campus carry policy that lists the areas designated as exclusion zones can be found here:

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What process did the University use to develop the mandated campus carry policy?
The University charged a 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.

The work group was comprised of representatives from various University departments and groups. In order to establish the proper exclusion zones, the University consulted with its students, staff, and faculty regarding the nature of the student population, as well as the specific safety considerations and uniqueness of the campus environment, including but not limited to, mental health counseling, health-related clinical facilities, grievances, and disciplinary hearings (including allegations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, etc.), sporting and interscholastic events, places of religious worship, day care facilities and schools, campus programs for minors, university housing, and polling places. The University also analyzed statutes under Texas and Federal law to determine, by analogy, which areas on campus would be proper exclusion zones. 
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What action has the University taken in response to the new campus carry law?
The University has utilized an inclusive and collaborative process for creating and implementing the campus carry policy to ensure the policy is consistent with the law while also providing the safest environment possible for the University community. The University has developed training and will provide regular updates to the University community as necessary. The University will review the policy on a regular basis (at least annually) and will provide any updates to the policy that are necessary. 
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What are the criteria of establishing an exclusion zone?
After consulting with its students, staff, and faculty regarding the nature of the student population, as well as the specific safety considerations and uniqueness of the campus environment and analyzing statutes under Texas and Federal law to determine, by analogy, which areas on campus would be proper exclusion zones, the University determined that the criteria for establishment of an exclusion zone may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Campus areas used for day care and school activities, including areas frequently used by minor children.
  • Health care facilities similar to hospitals used for patient care, counseling and mental health services.
  • Areas used for sporting or interscholastic events. 
  • Established places of religious worship. 
  • Polling places. 
  • Laboratory areas where dangerous materials and equipment or research animals are present.
  • University housing other than Calhoun Lofts.
  • Spaces used for discussions of grievances or disciplinary hearings or meetings. (These exclusions may be permanent or temporary based on usage of the spaces.)
  • Areas containing critical university infrastructure.
  • Areas where contractual or licensing obligations require the exclusion of firearms.
  • An assigned employee office for which the employee has demonstrated that the carrying of a concealed handgun by a license holder in the office presents a Significant Risk of Substantial Harm due to a negligent discharge of the handgun, and the president or president’s designee has approved the employee’s request that the office be designated as an area where licensed concealed carry of a handgun is not permitted.
  • Other areas prohibited by state or federal law.

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How will I know if an area has been designated as an exclusion zone?
The University’s campus carry policy can be found here and the specific exclusion zones can be found hereS.B. 11 requires that the University give notice to license holders for each building or area restricting the concealed carry of a weapon. Notice is defined under Texas Penal Code Section 30.06 to include a signed posted on University property that contains the below language in Spanish and English or written communication such as “a card or other document on which is written language identical to the following: ‘Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun.”
The University will utilize multiple methods of notice to ensure the University community is aware of the exclusion zones including, but not limited to, posting a sign near buildings where the entire building is excluded, providing cards to individuals, and placing notices on doors or other areas inside or outside buildings, in the student handbook, student life materials, ticketed events, flyers for events, e-mail communications to the University community, as well as via training provided to University faculty, staff, and students.
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Which areas on campus are exclusion zones?
The University’s campus carry policy that lists the areas designated as exclusion zones can be found here:

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May an individual member of the university community post a sign or notice that prohibits handguns in their offices, classrooms, or other workspaces?
No. In accordance with SB 11, only the University President by policy can designate areas as exclusion zones. University community members cannot designate their own exclusion zones. The University does not authorize any member of the University community to post their own signs or notices or individually choose an area to post signs or notices.
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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.
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.
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Does the law allow for open carry?
No, 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.
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What does “concealed handgun” mean?
A handgun, the presence of which is not openly discernible to the ordinary observation of a reasonable person. 
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Will University faculty and staff be allowed to a carry concealed handgun? Can I tell my employees that they cannot carry a concealed handgun?
The campus carry law does not prohibit, nor can a supervisor prohibit, university faculty and staff from carrying a concealed handgun beginning on August 1, 2016 so long as it is done consistent with the University’s campus carry policy found here. Unless an employee is required to carry a firearm as part of the employee’s specific job duties (i.e., Police Officer), any possession or use of a firearm by the employee is not considered to be within the scope of employment with the University. As such, any employee who chooses to use a firearm is acting in the employee’s individual capacity and not as an agent of the University. 
Additionally, employees who decide to carry a concealed handgun must be aware that he or she must still be able to perform all assigned duties and responsibilities in areas on campus and must plan appropriately for the legal storage of any handgun. In other words, disciplinary action up to and including termination may result if an employee is not able to perform their job duties and functions because the area they are assigned to perform work (or the work that they are assigned to perform ) is in an exclusion zone and the employee is carrying a handgun.
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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. Additionally, disciplinary sanctions may be imposed up to and including expulsion and termination of employment.
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Can I bring a gun other than a handgun on campus?
Senate Bill 11 only makes it legal for concealed handgun license (CHL) holders to carry handguns on campus, starting Aug. 1, 2016. Since CHLs do not permit rifles and other weapons, those items remain prohibited. All other weapons besides handguns are strictly prohibited for students, faculty, staff, and visitors, including long guns, knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches, brass knuckles, clubs, and explosives. Their possession on campus is grounds for immediate criminal and disciplinary action.
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Does a police officer have the right to disarm me?
Yes. If a police officer reasonably believes a safety risk exists, or has other probably cause to do so, he or she may disarm you. You should be courteous and non-confrontational and follow the police officer's directions.
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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 an exclusion zone. The University’s campus carry policy can be found here that lists the areas designated as exclusion zones can be found here. In general, legal residents of the state of Texas who are at least age 21 years of age, pass a criminal background check and receive classroom and shooting range instruction can obtain a CHL. Texas also requires that applicants not have certain criminal convictions and histories of substance abuse or certain mental health disorders. Texas also bans anyone who is delinquent on their taxes or child support payments from getting a license. Please see the Texas Department of Public Safety website for details. 
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What responsibility does a concealed carry permit holder have to keep his or her weapon concealed? Are CHL holders violating the terms of their permit if someone gets a glimpse of their weapon?
A person with a concealed carry permit must conceal the weapon. A violation would occur when a person knowingly and intentionally (rather than accidentally) displays the handgun in plain view of another person.
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Will I be able to find out which students have a concealed gun in my class? Will the University publish a list of concealed handgun license holders or require students, faculty and staff members who have a concealed handgun license to register with the Police Department?
The University will not track or have a list of CHL holders at the university. Individuals holding a valid CHL are not required to disclose their status. The only exception to this rule is if police ask about concealed carry status for law enforcement purposes. License holders are required to inform the police, if questioned, if they are carrying a handgun. Importantly, if asked by someone other than a police officer, students, faculty, and staff cannot be retaliated against in any way for failure to answer the question or for answering in the affirmative or negative. In no way should faculty, staff, and students be pressured or coerced into divulging their campus carry/CHL status. 
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What do I do if I see someone with a gun and it is a non-threatening situation?
Be a good witness and avoid escalating the situation by confronting the individual. Call the University of Houston Police Department immediately at 713-743-3333. If there is an active shooter on campus please see the links below for guidelines of what to do. 

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What should I do if I suspect or know there is an active shooter on campus?
Please see links below for guidelines for what to do in the event of an active shooter on campus:

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Is a handgun license holder required to display identification if asked to by a police officer?
Yes. The license holder shall display both the license holder's driver's license or identification certificate issued by DPS, and the license holder's handgun license. Texas Government Code § 411.205.
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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 any on campus sporting event.
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Can I bring a gun into an apartment complex that is not owned by the University where students reside?
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.
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What do I need to do with my gun if I live in an apartment complex on campus that allows concealed handguns?
When not carried on or about a person, handguns must be in a Secure Storage Area, locked compartment of a locked vehicle, or a gun safe. Gun safes must meet the following requirements:

  • Be large enough to fully contain all firearms placed in it and provide for secure storage;
  • Have exterior walls constructed of a minimum 16-gauge steel;
  • Have a high-strength locking system consisting of a mechanical or electronic combination or biometric lock, and not a key lock
  • Be certified to/listed as meeting Underwriters Laboratories Residential Security Container rating standards by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).
  • Be physically secured inside the license holder’s residence in a manner that conforms to University of Houston Resident Life and Housing policy.

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What is a Secure Storage Area?
A Secure Storage Area is an area designated by the University for storage of handguns belonging to the faculty, staff, students, and visitors of the University community. It must be operated by armed UHPD personnel and accessible to handgun owners twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Secure Storage Areas will be maintained at the campus police station and at other locations that may be established by the University. 
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Why didn’t the University ban handguns from classrooms?
Senate Bill 11 states that a university president has the authority to enact “reasonable rules and regulations” but the rules may not either “generally prohibit” or “have the effect of generally prohibiting” license holders from carrying concealed handguns on campus. Banning concealed handguns from classrooms would likely be considered a general prohibition and so would violate the law.
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Will students receive safety training on gun use? 
CHL holders are required to complete state mandated safety courses to acquire the license. The University does not provide this training.
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How does Campus Carry apply to UH Cy-Fair, Kingwood, and Northwest campuses? 
S.B. 11 does not require public junior colleges to implement Campus Carry until August 1, 2017. UHD Cy-Fair, Kingwood, and Northwest campuses are located on the property of Lone Star College System, a public junior college. LTC license holders may not carry a concealed handgun on Lone Star College System property according to Lone Star College System policy.
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What are the reciprocal carry agreements for concealed carry and license to carry holders from other states? 
A list of reciprocity agreements can be found on the website of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
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