1. What is concealed carry and how does it apply to UHD?
Concealed carry refers to carrying a concealed handgun in Texas. To carry a concealed handgun in Texas, individuals need a License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS). Senate Bill 11, which was signed into law by Governor Abbott, allows individuals with a concealed handgun license to carry concealed handguns on University campuses, including UHD. The law is effective August 1, 2016.
You can read the text of the law here.
2. What is Campus Carry?
Senate Bill 11 (S.B. 11), also known as the "campus carry" law, amends Section 411.2031 of the Texas Government Code to allow carrying of handguns by license holders on college campuses.
3. 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.
4. Who can carry a concealed weapon on campus under S.B. 11?
Only persons with a License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) are allowed to carry a concealed weapon on campus. A person must be at least 21 years of age, undergo training and meet other statutory requirements to obtain a LTC license in the State of Texas.
5. What is required to obtain a LTC?
The Texas Department of Public Safety website can provide details.
6. Can LTC license holders carry concealed handguns anywhere on campus?
The Campus Carry Law, allows UHD to designate certain areas gun-free based on "the nature of the student population, specific safety considerations, and the uniqueness of the campus environment." The designation of these gun-free areas were be approved by President Olivas and the University of Houston System Board of Regents.
7. How were the gun-free areas determined?
In accordance with S.B. 11, the UHD President appointed a Campus Carry Work Group made up of representatives from the faculty, staff and students. The Campus Carry Work Group developed "reasonable rules" regarding which areas can be designated gun-free. The Work Group received input from the UHD community through town halls and an online survey.
8. What was the criteria for establishing gun-free areas?
The Campus Carry Work Group consulted with 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, scientific laboratory and storage spaces, sporting and interscholastic events, child watch facilities and, campus programs for minors.
UHD's Campus Carry Policy can be found here
A list of gun-free areas can be found here
9. How will I know if an area is designated as a gun-free area?
The University's campus carry policy can be found
here and the specific gun-free areas 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 sign 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 gun-free areas which may include 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.
How does Campus Carry apply to UHD Cy-Fair, Kingwood, and Northwest campuses?
S.B. 11 is in effect for junior colleges effective August 1, 2017. UHD NW will follow UHD's campus carry policy while Kingwood and CyFair will follow Lonestar College's Campus Carry Policy.
11. Can a member of the University community post signage that prohibits handguns in their offices, classrooms, or other workspaces?
No. In accordance with S.B. 11, only the UHD President, with the approval of the UHS Board of Regents, can designate areas to be gun-free at UHD. UHD community members cannot designate their own gun-free areas. UHD does not authorize any member of the UHD community to post their own signage or individually choose an area to post signage.
12. How will gun-free areas be enforced?
UHD Police will be in charge of enforcement.
13. 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.
14. What does "concealed" mean?
Concealed simple means that the handgun is not visible. The handgun can be in a backpack, purse, in a holster underneath clothing, or in any other area in the immediate control of the license holder that is not in plain view of the public.
15. What responsibility does a concealed carry permit holder have to keep his or her weapon concealed? Are LTC holders violating the terms of their permit if someone gets a glimpse of their weapon?
A person with a concealed carry permit must conceal the weapon. A violation would occur when a person knowingly and intentionally (rather than accidentally) displays the handgun in plain view of another person.
16. If I can see the outline of a gun through someone's clothes, backpack, or purse, is that considered concealed?
Yes. As long as no part of the gun is showing (just the imprint), Texas law considers that concealed.
17. What do I do if I see a gun that is not fully concealed?
Contact the UHD Police Department at 713-221-8911.
18. What do I do if I suspect someone is carrying a gun illegally (without a LTC)?
Contact the UHD Police Department at 713-221-8911.
19. Will University faculty and staff be allowed to a carry concealed handgun?
The campus carry law does not prohibit, nor can a supervisor prohibit, university faculty and/or 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. 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 able to perform all assigned duties and responsibilities in areas on campus and must plan appropriately. 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 is in a gun-free area and the employee is carrying a handgun.
20. Can I bring a gun other than a handgun on campus?
Senate Bill 11 only makes it legal for License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) holders to carry handguns on campus, starting Aug. 1, 2016. Since LTCs do not permit rifles and other weapons, those items remain prohibited. All other weapons besides handguns are strictly prohibited for students, faculty, staff, and visitors, including long guns, knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches, brass knuckles, clubs, and explosives. Their possession on campus is grounds for immediate criminal and disciplinary action.
21. Does a police officer have the right to disarm me?
Yes. If a police officer reasonably believes a safety risk exists, or has other probable cause to do so, he or she may disarm you. You should be courteous and non-confrontational and follow the police officer's directions.
22. Will I be able to find out which students have a concealed handgun in my class? Will UHD publish a list of concealed handgun license holders?
Information about persons who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun is considered confidential and may only be disclosed by the Department of Public Safety to a criminal justice agency, upon proper request, and not to any individual other than the licensee. Consequently, UHD will not have a list of LTC holders at the university. Individuals holding a valid LTC are not required to disclose their status. The only exception to this rule is if police ask about concealed carry status for law enforcement purposes. License holders are required to inform the police, if questioned, that they are carrying a handgun. Importantly, if asked by someone other than a police officer, students, faculty, or staff cannot be retaliated against in any way for failure to answer the question or for answering in the affirmative or negative. In no way should faculty, staff, or students be pressured or coerced into divulging their campus carry status.
23. For more information on the University of Houston system policies, click
here to read our Campus Carry Policy.