FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Campus Carry
 

1. Does the law allow open carry on campus?

No. SB 11 deals only with concealed handgun carry by licensed holders. It is now and will continue to be illegal to openly display firearms on your person on university property.



2. Can anybody legally carry a handgun on a Texas public university when the law takes effect?

No. SB 11 authorizes concealed carry by license holders only. License holders include people who have received the state mandated training and met other statutory requirements for a license to carry a concealed handgun. To obtain a license, a person must be 21 years of age (with the exception of active duty military and police officers); meet state and federal qualifications to own a handgun; and receive CHL training from a certified instructor for the Department of Public Safety.



3. Are handguns the only type of firearm permitted through campus carry?

No. The new legislation governs concealed carry handguns only by CHL holders. However, Open Carry legislation effective January 1, 2016, permits possessing or storing a firearm in a locked, privately owned vehicle on a campus street or parking facility. As to the rest of the campus or premises, components are free to continue to enforce (or establish as the component deems necessary) rules related to rifles and long guns in university housing.



4. Have license holders been allowed to carry on university campuses for almost twenty years?

No. Suggestions that guns have been allowed on university campuses in Texas for 19 years is misleading and inaccurate. Penal Code 46.03 decriminalized carrying concealed handguns; however, the law did not prohibit universities and colleges from passing rules banning anyone, including concealed handgun license holders, from carrying on campus. While concealed handgun license holders could not be arrested or prosecuted for carrying on campus, they could be removed from campus, disciplined, terminated, or expelled as appropriate. On August 1, 2016, Senate Bill 11 becomes the law, and SRSU is required to abide by its directives.



5. If a staff or faculty member observes someone with a visible firearm and has reason to believe that the individual is in violation of the law, is it the faculty or staff member’s responsibility to confront the individual?

No. Employees should not confront persons believed to be in violation of the law. Rather, faculty/staff should report the matter to the University Police Department at 432.837.8100.



6. Does a gun free zone mean law enforcement cannot carry in that area?

No. Law enforcement officials are not prohibited from carrying firearms in areas designated as gun-free zones.



7. Can the University ask students and employees if they are have CHL’s?

No. The law does not require self-identification/disclosure unless requested by a police officer. This information is confidential under Texas law and not a matter of public record.



8. Are there any areas on the Sul Ross Campuses that will be designated as gun free zones?

The SRSU Campus Carry Taskforce will present recommendations to President Kibler about possible gun-free zones and/or gun-free activities. Campus community members are invited to provide input about possible gun free zones by attending the scheduled public forums and through the completion of an online survey. It is advisable to keep in mind that the legislature requires justification for the creation of all campus gun-free zones.



TSUS OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL
THIRD SET OF FAQ RESPONSES ON
SENATE BILL 11 (CAMPUS CARRY) LAW
November 17, 2015

The following responses, representing the collective opinions of Texas State University System Office of General Counsel (OGC) attorneys and PIA Coordinator, are for the purpose of providing legal guidance and statutory interpretation to System Components and are not intended and should not be viewed as commentary on campus carry policy. Please keep in mind that each campus will have to provide its justification for implementation of gun-free zones to the legislature in even-numbered calendar years.
 

1. Is it consistent with legislative intent for a campus to carve out certain areas as “gun-free” zones and not provide on-campus storage option?

RESPONSE:

Yes. SB 11 does not require campuses with designated “gun-free” zones to have storage options. The language in SB 11 makes storage in dormitories and other residential facilities optional, not mandatory.

As stated in response to Question #6 of the FIRST FAQs, “If a university decides to provide storage facilities, OGC's recommendation is that such storage be in a central location on campus with 24/7 access.”



2. In a campus safety policy, may a university, college, or institute require “holstered” carry of a concealed handgun on the carrier’s physical body and disallow concealed carry of a handgun in something that is not physically attached to the body (like in a backpack, purse, suitcase, fanny-pack, briefcase, plastic bag, brown bag, etc.)?

RESPONSE:

No. As Texas statutes do not require concealed handgun license holders (CHLs) to “holster” handguns, a campus policy imposing such a restriction would be contrary to state law.



3. What type of signage and in what location should signage be placed, if a portion of a building is gun-free but other portions of the building are not? (Permanent sign exterior to each entrance point; only permanent sign in the interior of the building at the interior entrance to the gun-free area; and/or a permanent sign on exterior and a sign interior.)

RESPONSE:

The exact location of such signs is a decision best made by each campus.

As stated in response to Question #13 of the FIRST FAQs and Question #17 of the SECOND FAQs,

Oral or written notice must be given as to where CHLs may not carry. Notice that is given on a card or document must contain the following 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.

Alternatively, notice may be posted on a sign at the entrance of a gun-free zone. The sign must conform to the requirements of the Penal Code, in format and content, as follows:

  • Include the above italicized language in both English and Spanish;
  • Use contrasting colors, block letters, at least 1 inch in height; and
  • Be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.


4. If an employee with a concealed carry license learns he or she must, as a part of his or her employment responsibility, go to an area of campus designated as a “gun-free zone,” may the employee store his or her handgun in their locked office while fulfilling his or her employment obligations?

RESPONSE:

No. SB 11 permits a license holder to carry a concealed handgun on or about the CHL’s person. With the exception of dorm residents, CHLs are not permitted to store handguns on campus. Should a CHL learn of a need go to a gun-free zone, the CHL may lock the handgun in his or her vehicle or make other off campus arrangements.



5. Does liability of university (or immunity of university) change when the university is the venue for the summer camp for minors but the camp is not “sponsored” by the university (such as – the cheerleading camp)?

RESPONSE:

Liability and/or immunity of a campus might be affected if it is the venue for a summer camp but not its sponsor. However, the liability and/or immunity of a campus will depend on the specific facts giving rise to a claim. A more definitive answer cannot be provided to this question as all facts giving rise to a potential claim are not known at this time.



6. Is a public (or private K-12) school field trip to a university owned or leased venue, considered a public school event and thus the field trip venue should be designated as a gun-free zone while the event is taking place? Would such a designation be automatic under the law or would the university have to create a “carve out” for such an event?

RESPONSE:

The presence of K-12 students on campus for a field trip does not automatically prohibit CHL holders from the field trip location. Campuses intending to designate such locations as gun-free areas must display proper signage.