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An Update on Campus Carry Rules and Implementation 

A Message From Bob Harkins, Associate Vice President, Campus Safety and Security

Dear UT Students, Faculty and Staff,

Today, the University of Texas System Board of Regents gave final approval to the UT Austin campus rules for implementing Senate Bill 11 — the state’s “campus carry” law — which takes effect Aug. 1.

I’d like to update you on some of the measures we are taking to prepare.

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Campus Carry Information Sheets

UT Austin is committed to providing a safe environment for students, employees, university affiliates, and visitors. Download or view a series of information sheets.

General Information

On June 1, 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed S.B. 11, also known as the "campus carry" law. S.B. 11 provides that license holders may carry a concealed handgun throughout university campuses, starting Aug. 1, 2016. The law gives public universities some discretion to regulate campus carry.

The University of Texas at Austin and President Gregory L. Fenves take issues surrounding guns on campus very seriously and will strive to create policies that conform to the new law, protect the rights of citizens and ensure the safety and security of the entire campus.

S.B. 11 provides that after consulting with students, staff and faculty regarding "the nature of the student population, specific safety considerations and the uniqueness of the campus environment" the university may enact reasonable rules and regulations regarding:

  • carrying of concealed handguns by license holders on campus; and
  • storage of handguns in dormitories or other residential facilities

The law stipulates, however, that these rules and regulations may not either "generally prohibit" or "have the effect of generally prohibiting" license holders from carrying concealed handguns on campus.


Facts

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S.B. 11 deals only with the concealed carry of handguns by people who have a concealed carry license. It is now — and will still be — illegal to display a firearm in campus buildings as well as on campus streets, sidewalks, walkways, etc.

S.B. 11 authorizes concealed campus carry only by "license holders," that is, people who received the state-mandated training and met the other statutory requirements for a license to carry a concealed handgun.

The minimum age for obtaining a license to carry a concealed handgun is ordinarily 21. (Members and veterans of the military may obtain a license before the age of 21.)

There is no way to determine how many students have concealed handgun licenses. However, based on the demographic data we have, we estimate that currently fewer than 1 percent of UT students are licensed to carry a concealed handgun.

During the spring semester in 2016, there were 485 students 21 years of age or older living in on-campus UT residence halls, compared to 7,433 total residents.

Last spring, there were 686 contract holders 21 or older who lived in Married Student Housing. About 80 percent of these were international students, and thus ineligible to obtain a concealed carry license.

Since 1995, the law has allowed license holders to carry concealed handguns on campus. Of course, the current prohibition on carrying concealed handguns into campus buildings has undoubtedly diminished the number of people who carry concealed handguns around campus.

S.B. 11 covers concealed carry only on campus and the buildings owned or leased by the University. Fraternity and sorority houses are neither on campus nor owned or leased by the university. The same is true for the various private residential facilities in which many UT students live. S.B. 11, therefore, does not affect 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.

This is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.