July 9, 2015
Issue II: "Campus Carry" Legislation
The recently concluded 84th session of the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 11 which has now been signed by the governor. This is the bill known in the media and
elsewhere as the “campus carry” legislation. With this edition of the Legal Courier,
we want to provide you some introductory information on this important subject.
While the new legislation mandates that universities begin to plan now for its implementation,
the bill’s provisions first take effect August 1, 2016.
Since 1995, Texas has provided statutory regulation governing licensure for “concealed
handguns.” As a general rule, holders of the concealed handgun license or "CHL" are
allowed to carry a concealed handgun without violation of the Texas Penal Code except
on various premises described as exceptions to the law. Prior to 2015, buildings on
university campuses were excepted from the law. As a consequence, with respect to
the component institutions of the Texas Tech University System, CHL holders could have a concealed handgun in
their automobile or on the street, but not carry it into any of our buildings.
In concept, the recent campus carry legislation eliminates the general exception for
institutions of higher education and replaces it with the provisions of Senate Bill
The following is a summary of some of the important points.
- Under the existing CHL law, licenses may only be issued to individuals who are age
21 and over and who have passed the various background checks and safety and proficiency
certifications required by the law.*
- Senate Bill 11 preserves a limited power for universities to provide some regulation.
The statute is explicit, however, that any rules and regulations must be “reasonable”
and may not “generally prohibit or have the effect of generally prohibiting license
holders from carrying concealed handguns on the campus.”
- The statute mandates processes and timelines with respect to the regulatory provisions
universities may wish to enact.
- Institutional rules and regulations must be in place and effective as of August 1,
- Rules and regulations are to be adopted by action of the president of each university.
- Presidents are instructed by the statute to consult with students, staff and faculty
of the institution regarding:
- The nature of the student population; specific safety considerations; and the uniqueness
of the campus environment.
- The rules and regulations adopted must be reviewed by the Board of Regents within 90 days of the date the rules are established by the president.
- Not later than September 1, 2016, and on every even-numbered year thereafter, universities
are required to report the content of their regulations to the Texas Legislature for
- Any premises declared off limits for concealed handguns must utilize specific statutory
signage to inform the public.
- Institutions are specifically granted the authority to establish rules and regulations
concerning the storage of handguns in dorms or other residential facilities.
- Aside from the provisions above, it continues to be an offense to carry a handgun,
either concealed or openly, on premises where a collegiate sporting event is being
held so long as effective notice is given via the statutorily specified signage.
Also of interest to university communities is the enactment of House Bill 910, the so called “open carry” bill. While House Bill 910 will allow the carrying of
handguns in a visible shoulder or belt holster on many premises, the statute excepts
the premises of institutions of higher education. It will, therefore, continue to
be a violation of the Texas Penal Code to “open carry” handguns on university premises.
Clearly, there is analysis and dialog ahead for each university in the Texas Tech
University System. In order to help facilitate that process at each of the universities,
Chancellor Robert L. Duncan has established a working group with representatives from the Texas Tech University
System and each of the component universities with the goal of establishing some general
guidelines for institutional rules and processes, with the further goal of having
those guidelines available to the universities by October 1, 2015.
Thank you for reading the Legal Courier. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 806.742.2155
if we can be of any assistance.