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University of Houston-Victoria

Campus Carry - Frequently Asked Questions


What is the current law for carrying handguns on campus?

The new campus carry law that was signed by Governor Abbott on June 13, 2015 allows persons with a state mandated concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a concealed handgun in certain areas on campus so long as the area has not been designated by the University as a weapons free area. Top

What is the “campus carry” law?

On June 13, 2015 Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill No. 11 (S.B. 11), also known as the "campus carry" law. S.B. 11 amends Section 411.2031 of the Texas Government Code to allow carrying of handguns by license holders on college campuses. While the University President may not generally prohibit license holders from carrying concealed weapons on the campus, the law gives public universities some discretion to regulate campus carry including designating certain areas on campus where concealed handguns are prohibited. The law authorized the University to adopt and receive approval of its campus carry policy from the Board of Regents. Top

Who can carry a concealed weapon on campus under S.B. 11?

Only persons with a state-mandated concealed handgun license (CHL) are allowed to carry a concealed weapon on campus so long as the area has not been designated as a weapons free area. A person must be at least 21 years of age, undergo training and meet other statutory requirements to obtain a CHL in the State of Texas. Top

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. Top

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. “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. Top

Will University faculty and staff be allowed to carry concealed weapons?

The campus carry law does not prohibit university faculty and staff from carrying a concealed weapon so long as it is consistent with the University’s campus carry policy. As mandated by S.B. 11, the University is responsible for promulgating guidelines for campus carry, including the extension of this privilege to faculty and staff. Top

Does the law allow for open carry?

S.B. 11 addresses only concealed handgun carry on college campuses, and does NOT allow open carry. Thus, under Texas law, it will continue to be illegal to display a firearm inside campus buildings or on campus streets, parking lots, sidewalks, walkways, etc. Top

Can I carry a concealed weapon at sporting events?

No, S.B. 11 and the Texas Penal Code prohibit a license holder from carrying a concealed weapon at an on campus sporting event. Top

Will students receive safety training on gun use?

Concealed handgun license holders are required to complete state mandated safety courses to acquire the license. Top

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. Top

What process did the University use to develop the mandated campus carry policy?

The University charged a campus carry work group with the responsibility to develop a campus carry policy that is compliant with S.B. 11, addresses the safety and welfare of university students and the campus community, and that is based upon input obtained from campus constituents. 

The work group was comprised of representatives from various University departments and groups.  In order to establish the proper exclusion zones, the University consulted with its 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 (including allegations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, etc.), sporting and interscholastic events, places of religious worship, day care facilities and schools, campus programs for minors, university housing, and polling places.  The University also analyzed statutes under Texas and Federal law to determine, by analogy, which areas on campus would be proper exclusion zones. Top

What action has the University taken in response to the new campus carry law?

The University has utilized an inclusive and collaborative process for creating and implementing the campus carry policy to ensure the policy is consistent with the law while also providing the safest environment possible for the University community.  The University has developed training and will provide regular updates to the University community as necessary. The University will review the policy on a regular basis (at least annually) and will provide any updates to the policy that are necessary. Top

What are the criteria of establishing an exclusion zone?

After consulting with its students, staff, and faculty regarding the nature of the student population, as well as the specific safety considerations and uniqueness of the campus environment and analyzing statutes under Texas and Federal law to determine, by analogy, which areas on campus would be proper exclusion zones, the University determined that the criteria for establishment of an exclusion zone may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Campus areas used for day care and school activities, including areas frequently used by minor children.
  2. Health care facilities similar to hospitals used for patient care, counseling and mental health services.
  3. Areas used for sporting or interscholastic events. 
  4. Established places of religious worship. 
  5. Polling places. 
  6. Laboratory areas where dangerous materials and equipment or research animals are present.
  7. University housing other than Jaguar Court.
  8. Spaces used for discussions of grievances or disciplinary hearings or meetings.  (These exclusions may be permanent or temporary based on usage of the spaces.)
  9. Areas containing critical university infrastructure.
  10. Areas where contractual or licensing obligations require the exclusion of firearms.
  11. An assigned employee office for which the employee has demonstrated that the carrying of a concealed handgun by a license holder in the office presents a Significant Risk of Substantial Harm due to a negligent discharge of the handgun, and the president or president’s designee has approved the employee’s request that the office be designated as an area where licensed concealed carry of a handgun is not permitted.
  12. Other areas prohibited by state or federal law.


May an individual member of the university community post a sign or notice that prohibits handguns in their offices, classrooms, or other workspaces?

No. In accordance with SB 11, only the University President by policy can designate areas as exclusion zones. University community members cannot designate their own exclusion zones.  The University does not authorize any member of the University community to post their own signs or notices or individually choose an area to post signs or notices. Top

What does “concealed handgun” mean?

A handgun, the presence of which is not openly discernible to the ordinary observation of a reasonable person. Top

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. Top

Can I bring a gun other than a handgun on campus?

Senate Bill 11 only makes it legal for concealed handgun license (CHL) holders to carry handguns on campus. Since CHLs 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. Top

Does a police officer have the right to disarm me?

Yes. If a police officer reasonably believes a safety risk exists, or has other probably cause to do so, he or she may disarm you. You should be courteous and non-confrontational and follow the police officer's directions. Top

What responsibility does a concealed carry permit holder have to keep his or her weapon concealed? Are CHL 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. Top

Will I be able to find out which students have a concealed gun in my class? Will the University publish a list of concealed handgun license holders or require students, faculty and staff members who have a concealed handgun license to register with the Police Department?

The University will not track or have a list of concealed handgun license holders at the university.  Individuals holding a valid CHL 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, if they are carrying a handgun.  Importantly, if asked by someone other than a police officer, students, faculty, and 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, and students be pressured or coerced into divulging their campus carry/CHL status. Top

What do I do if I see someone with a gun and it is a non-threatening situation?

Be a good witness and avoid escalating the situation by confronting the individual.  Call the University’s police department immediately at 361-485-4570.  If there is an active shooter on campus please see the links below for guidelines of what to do. 


What should I do if I suspect or know there is an active shooter on campus?

Please see links below for guidelines for what to do in the event of an active shooter on campus:


Is a handgun license holder required to display identification if asked to by a police officer?

Yes. The license holder shall display both the license holder's driver's license or identification certificate issued by DPS, and the license holder's handgun license. Texas Government Code § 411.205. Top

Can I bring a gun into an apartment complex that is not owned by the University where students reside?

The law covers concealed carry only on campus and the buildings owned or leased by the University.  S.B. 11, therefore, does not affect privately owned 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 areas. Top

What do I need to do with my gun if I live in an apartment complex on campus that allows concealed handguns?

When not carried on or about a person, handguns must be in a Secure Storage Area, locked compartment of a locked vehicle, or a gun safe.  Gun safes must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be large enough to fully contain all firearms placed in it and provide for secure storage.
  2. Have exterior walls constructed of a minimum 16-gauge steel.
  3. Have a high-strength locking system consisting of a mechanical or electronic combination or biometric lock, and not a key lock.
  4. Be certified to/listed as meeting Underwriters Laboratories Residential Security Container rating standards by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).
  5. Be physically secured inside the license holder’s residence in a manner that conforms to University of Houston Resident Life and Housing policy.


Why didn’t the University ban handguns from classrooms?

Senate Bill 11 states that a university president has the authority to enact “reasonable rules and regulations” but the rules may not either “generally prohibit” or “have the effect of generally prohibiting” license holders from carrying concealed handguns on campus. Banning concealed handguns from classrooms would likely be considered a general prohibition and so would violate the law. Top

What limitations can universities place on concealed license holders?

The new campus carry legislation gives universities the ability to determine when and where carrying a concealed firearm is and is not appropriate on their campus. In accordance with Texas Government Code 411.2031, those determinations must be made with feedback from the university community. Texas public higher education institutions may prohibit concealed handgun license holders from carrying handguns by creating exclusion zones on certain areas of campus. The University’s campus carry policy that lists the areas designated as exclusion zones.  


How will I know if an area has been designated as an exclusion zone?

The University’s campus carry policy can be found with the specific exclusion zones.  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 signed 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 use multiple methods of notice to ensure the University community is aware of the exclusion zones including, but not limited to, 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.

The signs posted on university property will look similar to this:

Exclusion Zone Sign

The notices on doors or other areas inside or outside buildings will look similar to this:

Exclusion Zone Sign


Which areas on campus are exclusion zones?

The University’s campus carry policy that lists the areas designated as exclusion zones:



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