Frequently Asked Questions - Campus Carry SB. 11

Does the campus carry law allow anyone to carry a concealed weapon at Amberton University? 

No.  The law does not grant a universal right to carry a concealed weapon on campus.  The person must have a concealed handgun license (LTC), meaning they received the state-mandated training and met other requirements, including being at least 21 years of age and a legal Texas resident.  Refer to Texas Government Code, Section 411.172 for exact eligibility requirements. 

Does the new law allow for open carry at Amberton University? 

No.  SB 11 allows license holders to carry concealed handguns in non-excluded locations.  It is considered a criminal offense if the license holder carries a partially or wholly visible handgun, or if the person intentionally, or knowingly displays the handgun in plain view of another person.  The open carry law, or House Bill 910, which went into effect January 1, 2016, excludes university campuses from laws that allow open carry elsewhere in Texas.  Open carry does not apply to colleges and universities.  Individuals are not allowed to visibly carry handguns at Amberton.

Are handguns the only type of firearm to which campus carry applies?

Yes.  Senate Bill 11 makes it legal for persons having a handgun license (LTC) to carry handguns on campus, starting August 1, 2016.  Since LTCs do not permit rifles and other weapons, those items remain prohibited at Amberton University.

Does Amberton University expect LTC holders to defend themselves and/or others in the event of an active shooter?  When can I act in self-defense?

Amberton University does not expect a LTC holder to take action in the event of an active shooter.  The decision by a LTC holder to act on his/her own is the sole discretion of that person.  A weapon may be used in self-defense only as allowed by law.  By doing so, the LTC holder is acting as a private citizen and not as an authorized agent of Amberton University and is responsible for his/her actions. The only expectation of a LTC holder, as is the expectation of anyone in this situation, is that they exercise sound judgment, act responsibly, not present themselves as a threat to law enforcement and that all orders of  police officers be immediately obeyed. 

What responsibility do LTC holders have to keep a handgun absolutely concealed?  Are they violating the terms of their permit if someone gets a glimpse of their handgun?  What other responsibilities do LTC holders have? 

A person with a LTC permit must take reasonable measures to conceal the handgun. 
For example, if a person’s coat opens in the act of raising his/her arm to ask a question and a gun is seen, it is not a violation.  Seeing the imprint or outline of a gun through someone's clothing, backpack, or purse is not a violation. A violation is a person taking a gun out of concealment or otherwise displaying/brandishing it.    Also, if a handgun is in an individual’s vehicle, it must be concealed.
 

Other Responsibilities of Individuals Carrying Concealed Handguns include: 

Concealment

The licensed carrier of a handgun must ensure that a casual observer be unable to notice or detect that a handgun is being carried. This is a fundamental aspect of the law and of this policy.  Individuals who violate the condition of concealment at any time, either by deliberately or inadvertently allowing their handgun to be seen or by letting its presence be noticeable by inadequate concealment, are in violation of this policy and may be subject to discipline. 

Security

The licensed carrier is responsible for maintaining complete practical control of the handgun at all times, so that it is either on the licensee’s person or is immediately accessible from a purse or other similar personal accessory that is continually under the direct control of the licensee. The only alternative to these conditions is that a gun be stored appropriately

Safety

The handgun must be carried in a holster that completely covers the trigger, trigger guard area, and provides sufficient adhesion on the gun so that the gun will not fall out of the holster when the gun or the carrier is subject to abrupt motions or impacts. 

Storage

The university will make no provisions for storage of handguns. Licensed carriers must have their weapons on their persons constantly or have them stored in a securely locked personal vehicle. 

Where does a handgun need to be in order to be legally considered “concealed”?  Can a handgun be in a backpack or purse, or does it need to be directly on a person’s body or within reaching distance of the person? 

The law does not expressly state where a handgun needs to be in order to be concealed.  The weapon cannot be in plain view or discernable by ordinary observation.  Further, the handgun must be on the license holder’s person or in close proximity (as to be readily accessible). 

Does Amberton University have rules, regulations or other policies that prohibit handgun license holders from carrying concealed handguns in certain places on campus? 

Yes.  Amberton University prohibits handgun license holders from carrying concealed handguns in areas where mental health counseling is conducted or where disciplinary hearings or mediation sessions are taking place.  Currently, there is not an area designated for mental health counseling at Amberton University, such as a “counseling center”.  Should the University establish this type of service, it will be designated as a gun-free zone.  Any area designated as a gun-free or gun exclusion zone will display the proper signage.

Can I personally make a rule that someone who has a license to carry a handgun cannot carry into my classroom? 

No. Effective August 1, 2016, concealed carry is allowed on university campuses, including all offices, classrooms, and laboratories by anyone holding a valid handgun license, unless carrying a handgun is prohibited by state law, federal law, or university rules.  In accordance with S.B. 11, only the president of the university can designate areas to be gun-free.  University community members cannot designate their own gun-free areas.  Amberton University does not authorize any member of the Amberton community to post their own signage or individually choose an area to post signage. 

What should I do if I see a handgun or any other type of weapon on campus or if I feel threatened? 

Call 911 or notify the campus security officer or a University official.  A handgun license holder is required to keep the handgun out of sight.  If you see a person on campus with a weapon, you can help with campus safety by alerting police about suspicious activity.  If you see something, say something! If the person is aggressive and acting in a threatening manner, do not confront the person. Help others to escape and run away if you can.  Otherwise, conceal yourself.  Fight back if you have no choice.  If you encounter police officers, follow their instructions immediately without hesitation. 

What happens if someone violates the University’s campus carry policy? 

A person who fails to comply with the concealed handgun rules and regulations prescribed by Amberton University may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or dismissal from the University; and may also be in violation of Texas Penal Code Sections 46.03 and 46.035, subjecting the individual to criminal penalties. 

How will I know if my classmates or students are carrying guns?  Will I be able to find out which students, faculty, or staff have a concealed gun on-campus?  Will Amberton publish a list of LTC handgun license holders? 

If a LTC holder is in compliance with the law, you should be unaware that the individual has a gun.  The law prohibits licensed holders from carrying a handgun that is partially or wholly visible, or displaying the handgun intentionally and knowingly in plain view of another person while on campus. 

Information about persons who are licensed to carry a 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, Amberton will not have a list of LTC holders at the university. 

Will faculty and staff be allowed to carry guns? 

Any individual who holds a valid Texas handgun license (LTC) may carry a concealed handgun where permitted on University property and buildings. 

If someone does not have a license to carry a handgun, can s/he carry a handgun on campus under the new law? 

No.  Carrying a concealed handgun on campus is only legal if an individual has a valid handgun license.  State law does permit those without a handgun license to carry a handgun in their vehicle if the handgun is concealed and the person can legally possess a firearm.  See Texas Penal Code 46.02(a)(2). 

What are the requirements to obtain a license to carry in Texas? 

The Texas Department of Public Safety website provides details:http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/RSD/CHL/LicenseRegistration/applInstrInfo.htm

Full eligibility requirements are explained in Texas Government Code § 411.172. 

In general, individuals are eligible for licenses to carry handguns, if they: 

    • Are over 21 years of age;
    • Have been a legal resident of the state for a six-month period preceding the application;
    • Have not been convicted of a felony;
    • Are not currently charged with commission of a Class A or B misdemeanor;
    • Are not chemically dependent;
    • Are capable of exercising sound judgment;
    • Are not currently restricted under a court protective order or subject to a restraining order affecting a spousal relationship;
    • Are qualified under federal and state law to purchase a handgun;
    • Are current on child support payments or other monies collected by a state agency; and
    • Take and pass a course that has a written test and a shooting proficiency test. 

Can an international student on a student visa apply for a license to carry a handgun (LTC) from the Texas Department of Public Safety? 

Generally, no.  

Can an undocumented student apply for a license to carry a handgun (LTC) from the Texas Department of Public Safety? 

No.  To obtain a LTC, an individual must first be a legal Texas resident for six months.  Undocumented students are not legal Texas residents. 

How many people have a license to carry in Texas? 

As of April 30, 2016, the Texas Department of Public Safety reported that there were 1,017,618 active LTC handgun license holders.  The population of Texas is approximately 27 million; 3.7% hold a LTC.  Reports and statistics for concealed handgun licenses can be found on the Texas Department of Public Safety website under Concealed Handgun>Reports and Statistics>Demographics (http://dps.texas.gov/rsd/chl/reports/demographics.htm

Can I ask someone with a concealed weapon if he or she has the appropriate permit? 

Yes.  Anyone may ask, but the individual asked is not required to reply unless asked by a police officer.  This means faculty members may ask, but students are not required to provide that information.  Faculty members may not take any action against a student who chooses not to answer.  Any voluntary reporting by a student to a faculty member about his/her concealed carry permit status should be done privately.  Individuals may not be coerced into revealing their concealed carry status or pressured to answer concealed carry inquiries. 

Is a handgun license holder required to display identification if asked to do so by a magistrate or 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. 

How will Amberton University manage someone who has a gun and is exhibiting threatening behavior? 

It is a criminal act to exhibit threatening behavior with a gun, regardless of the individual’s LTC status.  University personnel will not hesitate to call 911 and have law enforcement personnel take appropriate action against a person who is exhibiting threatening behavior. 

Does a police officer have the right to disarm me? 

Yes.  If a police officer reasonably believes a safety risk exists, he/she may disarm you.  Be courteous and non-confrontational and follow the police officer’s directions.