Campus Carry Information

Campus Carry Policy Frequently Asked Questions:

  What is the current law for carrying handguns on campus?
 

On August 1, 2016, the new campus carry law that was signed by Governor Abbott on June 13, 2015 allows persons with a state mandated license to carry (LTC) 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: 

  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.

  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.
  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.
  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.
  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:

  1. Campus areas used for day care and school activities, including areas frequently used by minor children.
  2. Health care facilities similar to hospitals used for patient care, counseling and mental health services.
  3. Areas used for sporting or interscholastic events. 
  4. Established places of religious worship. 
  5. Polling places. 
  6. Laboratory areas where dangerous materials and equipment or research animals are present.
  7. University-owned or rented vehicles used to transport students other than University shuttles.
  8. Spaces used for discussions of grievances or disciplinary hearings or meetings. (These exclusions may be permanent or temporary based on usage of the spaces.)
  9. Areas containing critical university infrastructure.
  10. Areas where contractual or licensing obligations require the exclusion of firearms.
  11. 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.
  12. Other areas prohibited by state or federal law.
  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 here.  S.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.

  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.
  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.

  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.
  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 [Add link].  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.  

  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.
Contact
  • Police Department

    Phone: 281-283-2222
    Email: policechief@uhcl.edu

    Bayou Building Level 1
    2700 Bay Area Blvd
    Houston, TX 77058-1002

    Office hours:
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