- FAQs for Faculty
FAQs for Faculty
Background on Campus Carry Laws in Texas
In 2015, the Texas Legislature approved the "campus carry" law, Senate Bill 11. The law provides that License to Carry (LTC) permit 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 have worked 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, staffers and faculty members about "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 the carrying of concealed handguns by license holders on campus.
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.
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- What is open carry?
In 2015, the Texas Legislature changed a law to permit the open carry of handguns by LTC permit holders in most places beginning Jan. 1, 2016. Open carry is not allowed on the UT Austin campus or other colleges and universities.
- What is concealed carry?
Concealed carry is when a LTC holder carries a concealed handgun on or about their person. An LTC holder who chooses to carry a handgun must carry the handgun in a holster that meets certain university-required standards. Concealed carry means the handgun must remain fully concealed.
- What is Campus Carry?
"Campus Carry" is the common name for the law that authorizes a LTC holder to carry a concealed handgun at institutions of higher education in Texas.
- How did Campus Carry become law?
In the 2015 state legislative session, a piece of legislation was introduced with the intent to permit license holders to carry concealed handguns into university buildings in a way that already existed in many places in Texas. For the past 20 years, license holders were permitted to carry handguns on campus grounds, but not in buildings.
This new law, S.B. 11, extended those rights to reflect the state’s policies in place elsewhere in the state. The legislation passed and gave university presidents some discretion after considering “the nature of the student population, specific safety considerations and the uniqueness of the campus environment” to implement policies that best suited individual campuses.
- What did UT do to prepare for this new law?
The final bill allowed universities to produce policies to address the unique issues on individual campuses. After the law passed, President Fenves formed a 19-member Working Group led by Steve Goode, a faculty member from the School of Law, which consisted of members of the faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni alongside university leadership.
The Working Group reached out to the campus community through emails and online surveys – receiving more than 3,300 responses – and held two public forums to gather input from the greater campus community.
The Working Group delivered a report to President Fenves that included 25 policy recommendations to comply with the law. President Fenves accepted all 25 recommendations and submitted them to the UT System Board of Regents, along with a 26th recommendation to prohibit handguns on the observation deck of the UT Tower.
The regents ultimately allowed all of those recommendations, except for one that would have prohibited rounds in the chambers of semiautomatic handguns.
Next, the president announced a task force charged with implementing the Campus Carry Policies and Implementation Strategies. Led by Bob Harkins, the associate vice president of campus safety and security, the Implementation Task Force worked collaboratively with units across campus to develop an implementation plan to carry out the new policies. The task force consisted of members of the faculty, staff, students and university leadership.
The task force welcomes feedback from the campus to address the unique challenges and issues faced by faculty members during the implementation of this new law, as well as those faced by staffers, students and others.
- What are the requirements to acquire a concealed carry license?
To legally carry a concealed handgun, the applicant must have applied for and received a License to Carry. The requirements for eligibility for a LTC permit are as follows:
- At least 21 years old
- Has completed the state-mandated training (includes safety and de-escalation)
- Is a legal resident
- Has not been convicted of a felony
- Is not charged with a Class A or B misdemeanor
- Is not a fugitive for a felony, Class A or B misdemeanors, or equivalent
- Is not a chemically dependent person
- And many others. See the full list of requirements here.
- What are the obligations of people who have a concealed carry license?
LTC holders who choose to carry concealed handguns on campus are obligated to know the UT Austin policies. It is their responsibility to know where they cannot carry and plan accordingly. If an activity would make concealed carrying difficult, or impossible, they must make proper arrangements to work around it. For example, some active dance classes make performing with a concealed handgun challenging. Because storage of handguns on campus is prohibited, a student who carries should consider leaving his or her handgun at home, or stored securely in his or her vehicle. Similarly, a student who will be taking an exam that requires that the backpack be left outside should consider leaving their handgun at home or in their car before entering the exam room. A LTC holder who carries on campus must carry the handgun in a holster that completely covers the trigger and the entire trigger guard area, and the holster must have sufficient tension to securely retain it even when subjected to unexpected jostling.
- What does concealed carry on campus mean?
Simply put, concealed carry means you should never see a license holder’s handgun on campus other than those carried by law enforcement officers such as UTPD.
LTC holders who carry a concealed handgun must carry it on or about their persons at all times. This means that a person may carry a handgun in a manner that the handgun must be close enough to the license holder that he or she can grasp it without materially changing position. For example, the handgun must be concealed on their person, or in a bag they have with them at all times. If a student is in a class that would require them to be separated from their bag, it is the responsibility of the LTC holder to think through and plan their day accordingly to ensure that they store their handgun off campus or in their car.