As of today, it is legal for individuals who have obtained a concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry their loaded, concealed weapon in college and university buildings in Texas state 4-year colleges and universities (campus carry in state 2-year and junior colleges does not go into effect until August 1, 2017).
The campus-carry law pushed by Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican legislative majority will make Texas one of a handful of states that guarantee the right to carry concealed handguns on campus.
Below is a Q&A of some of the most commonly asked questions about Campus Carry:
No. Currently, eight (8) states have provisions allowing the carrying of a concealed weapon on a college campus: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin, and Texas. Arkansas and Tennessee allow certain faculty members to carry weapons on campus but these laws do not extend to students or the general public.
As of now, 18 states ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Wyoming.
In the remaining 23 states, the decision to ban or allow concealed carry weapons on campuses is made by each college or university individually. These states are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
Anyone who holds a Texas concealed carry handgun license. To get one, a person must be at least 21 (18 if in the military) and pass both classroom and gun range training courses. There are also restrictions on convicted felons, people charged with felonies and high-level misdemeanors or people with a history of mental illness.
No. The open carry law specifically does not apply to college campuses. Any handguns on campus must be holstered and kept out of sight.
Yes. The law makes no distinction between a loaded and an unloaded firearm. For safety purposes, we recommend every firearm be treated as if it were loaded.
No, this only applies to state 4-year colleges and universities. Private schools like Baylor, Rice, Texas Christian and others can ban guns under the state law. Currently, Amberton University, which doesn't allow students under 21 and has a total enrollment under 2,000, is the only private school that has opted to allow guns.
As for community colleges, they have until August 2017 to allow weapons, giving them more time to adjust for security and other measures.
Texas law expressly forbids public universities from creating any rules that prohibit license holders from carrying a concealed handgun on campus. However, the president or other chief executive officer of the campus can establish "reasonable rules, regulations, or other provisions" dealing with the carrying of concealed handguns as long as those provisions do not generally prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting license holders from carrying a concealed handgun on the campus.
Each college and university may determine certain sensitive areas* and buildings where concealed weapons will continue to be prohibited. An example of this would include not allowing concealed carry in a certain type of lab or athletic room. The school will be required to display a 30.06 sign on those locations.
Each college and university must publicly display campus policies on the official school website, and are required to widely distribute any such rules that are established to ensure that the student body and license holders are educated and informed on the policy. Previous laws permitting the concealed carry with a license on open campus grounds and in locked vehicles in parking lots will remain unchanged**.
Private universities, on the other hand, may adopt rules that include a ban on concealed handguns in buildings or the entire campus, to include campus transportation.
A standing committee of the house of representatives and the senate, respectively, will be created to monitor the implementation and continuation of the campus carry program to ensure the law is being followed. If you feel that your campus is violating the law, please contact the standing committee for help in resolving the issue. We will provide a list of the names of the committee members here once created.
*The sensitive areas will first be determined by the institution and will include representatives from the student body, faculty, and staff. Once the sensitive areas are approved by this committee, they will be sent to the Board of Regents for a 2/3 vote for approval.
**EXCEPTION FOR GUNS IN VEHICLES (this exception remains in place with respect to new law taking effect in 2016/2017).
Comments will be approved before showing up.