The information below may help you answer some of your own questions about Senate Bill 11, often referred to as the “Campus Carry Bill” enacted in the 84th Legislature and effective Aug. 1, 2016.
A: Subject to rules adopted by the university, individuals holding a valid Texas concealed handgun license (CHL) or license to carry (LTC) will be allowed to carry their handgun, concealed on their person on the campus. With few exceptions, permit holders must be a Texas resident, 21 years of age, not have a criminal record of a felony conviction or conviction of certain classes of misdemeanors, and meet other requirements listed in the statute (Texas Govt. Code section 441.172). Further, permit holders will have completed education and proficiency requirements and pass a background check performed by the Department of Public Safety. Additional information can be found on the Department’s website.
Texas statute identifies seven categories of venues where concealed carry is prohibited. Those venues are shown under the “Concealed Carry Restricted Areas” tab. Four of those are particularly relevant to our campus. They are 1.) Sporting events, 2.) Healthcare facilities, 3.) Venues where school competitions (UIL events) are taking place, and 4.) Governmental meetings (such as the Board of Regents).
The statute clearly states that the President of each university shall establish “reasonable rules” regarding the carrying of handguns on their campus.
The statute further states that the rules so established may not ” … generally prohibit or have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders from carrying on the campus. In further emphasis of intent, the legislature passed a new provision in the Government Code, Section 411.209, which creates a potential civil (monetary) liability for any state agency which, by signage, overstates its prohibitions; e.g., if a university claims prohibitions which are not authorized in the “Campus Carry” legislation.
Adoption of an exclusion for a premises must be reasonably justified. That justification must rest on something other than assumptions or bias regarding handgun license holders. Justification should be based on some higher standard. Is there some reason that a concealed weapon on a particular premise creates some special danger? Under this rationale, it is likely very few buildings on our campus will be “off limits” in their entirety. It is likely that certain classes and laboratories may be excluded. Requests for exclusions may be submitted to the Campus Carry Committee.
With respect to the rulemaking process prescribed by Senate Bill 11, the legislature did not specifically authorize universities to prohibit handguns in university living facilities. However, the law provides that the university” … may include in its rules provisions concerning the storage of handguns in dormitories or other residential facilities…” Angelo State University requires that students living in university residential facilities who possess a valid CHL or LTC and who possess a handgun in that facility must secure the firearm in such a manner that it is not readily available to anyone except the permit holder. The method by which it is secured must provide some sort of locking mechanism that cannot be breached without excessive force. Examples include approved gun safes, cable locking mechanisms, or other devices which could reasonably be construed to prevent access to the firearm by anyone other than the owner.
At any campus location that is “off limits” for concealed carry, notice must be given by signage meeting the requirements of Texas Penal Code section 30.06. In order to provide the “effective notice” required by the new campus carry legislation, signs must be conspicuously posted and visible to the public, must be in English and Spanish, and must be printed in black letters of one inch or more on a contrasting background. The content of the sign is also prescribed.
Rules adopted by the university are subject to review at two levels:
a. Not later than 90 days after the institution president adopts the rules, they must be reviewed by the Board of Regents. The Board may modify the rules, but only by a two-thirds majority vote.
b. By September 15 of each even-numbered year, the university must submit a report to the Legislature and standing committees describing the rules adopted and explaining the ” … reasons the institution has established those provisions.”
No, that is classified information. Information on individuals who are licensed to carry a handgun is confidential and not subject to requests under the Public Information Act. However, the Department of Public Safety may release information about a handgun license to criminal justice agencies for law enforcement purposes.
All handgun licenses became licenses to carry (LTC) as of January 1, 2016. This does not invalidate a concealed handgun license (CHL) as long as it is not expired.
The handgun cannot be visible or discernible through ordinary observation. Even with “open carry” legal around Texas, the handgun must remain concealed while on the campus of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in the state of Texas with the possession of a LTC. License holders may be subject to criminal charges for carrying a handgun in plain view.