Update from Texas State University Campus Carry Task Force

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
September 24, 2015

The Texas Legislature recently passed a bill permitting concealed handgun license holders to carry a concealed handgun throughout university campuses beginning August 1, 2016.

President Denise Trauth formed a 25-member Campus Carry Task Force, comprised of faculty, staff, students, and administrators, and created an online survey to begin the consultative process. President Trauth emphasized that, as we work to implement the new campus carry law, the safety and welfare of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors are of paramount importance, and we must do everything we can to preserve a safe academic environment. 

The Task Force has begun its work.  We want to hear your concerns and suggestions.  You will be receiving surveys by email soon and we hope you will use the opportunity to share your thoughts.

Based on initial input the Task Force has received from our Bobcat Family, we know there is a lot of confusion about what the new campus carry law does and does not do.  Please read the summary below to learn more about the new campus carry law.

Summary of New Campus Carry Legislation – Senate Bill 11

1. The new law authorizes the university to enact reasonable rules and regulations:

  • "regarding the carrying of concealed handguns by license holders" on campus; and
  • "concerning the storage of handguns in dormitories or other residential facilities."
    The law stipulates, however, that the university may not enact rules and regulations that either "generally prohibit" or "have the effect of generally prohibiting" license holders from carrying concealed handguns on property and in buildings owned or leased by the university.

2. The new law goes into effect on August 1, 2016.

3. The new law does NOT allow “open carry” of handguns on campus.

SB 11 only allows “concealed carry” of handguns by individuals who have a concealed handgun license.  It is now — and will remain — illegal to openly display a handgun in campus buildings as well as on campus streets, sidewalks, walkways, etc.

4. A person must have a license to carry a concealed handgun on campus.

SB 11 authorizes only "license holders," or those who received the state-mandated training and met the other statutory requirements for a license, to carry a concealed handgun on campus.

5. An individual must be 21 to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun.

The minimum age for obtaining a license to carry a concealed handgun is 21. Members of the military and veterans may obtain a license before the age of 21. As of September 2015, about 59 percent of students at the Texas State San Marcos campus are eligible to obtain a concealed handgun license.

6. We estimate that less than 2 percent of Texas State students who are eligible to obtain a license, actually have a license.

A precise count of how many students have concealed handgun licenses is difficult to attain. However, we estimate that fewer than 1,000 have a license to carry a concealed handgun.

7. We estimate that less than 2 percent of the 356 students living in Texas State university-owned housing, who are eligible to obtain a license, actually have a license. 

8. Concealed handgun license holders have been allowed to carry concealed handguns on campus (but not in campus buildings) for 20 years.

Since 1995, concealed handgun license holders have been allowed to carry concealed handguns on campus.  Under the new law, beginning next August, a license holder may also carry a concealed handgun into a campus building.

9. The new law applies only to property owned or leased by the university.

The university is authorized to enact rules or regulations regarding concealed carry in university owned or leased buildings, including residence halls.  The University may not enact rules or regulations that govern privately and/or non-university owned or leased property in which Texas State students may live, work, and play.

10. The laws authorizing concealed handguns also place many requirements and restrictions on concealed handgun licensees. 

For example, handguns may not be carried on the premises of any collegiate sporting event and it is a crime for a license holder to carry a handgun while intoxicated (see Title 10, Chpt. 46 & 46.03.) For specific information, please consult: www.txdps.state.tx.us/RSD/CHL/Legal/newlegislation.htm.

Texas State University Task Force Timeline and Process

During fall 2015, the Task Force will use survey tools, focus groups, and other data collection methods, to consult with faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni, become informed about specific safety concerns, and make recommendations regarding rules, policies, guidelines, signage, storage, and other appropriate documents.        

In spring 2016, the Task Force will vet the proposed recommendations through public meetings and discussions. Recommendations will be revised based on feedback from the public meetings before presenting the final Task Force recommendations to President Trauth by early March 2016.

The Task Force wants to receive your input.  You will soon be receiving surveys and we encourage you to complete them.  An online survey tool is already available at: https://snap2.txstate.edu/snapwebhost/s.asp?k=143950169693.

The Task Force has also created a link on the Texas State homepage, www.txstate.edu, under “News and Announcements” to provide information.  Please check that website periodically for updates.