Campus Carry: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Why does UT Health Science Center at San Antonio need a campus carry policy?
A. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 11 ("campus carry"), which allows for the carrying of concealed handguns on Texas public institution campuses by concealed handgun license (CHL) holders. The purpose of the campus carry policy is to provide guidance on how the law will be implemented at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, while maintaining the safety of our campus community.
Q2. When does the new law take effect?
A. Campus carry will take effect on August 1, 2016.
Q3. Can anybody carry a handgun on a Texas public university campus when the new law takes place?
A. Campus carry is limited to concealed handgun license (CHL) holders (which is now referred to as License to Carry [LTC] as the CHL language has been changed). To obtain an LTC, a person must be 21 years old (with the exception of active duty military and police officers), meet state and federal qualifications to own a handgun and receive training from an LTC instructor that is certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Q4. Is there a difference between campus carry and open carry?
A. Yes. Texas Senate Bill 11 – known as "campus carry" – becomes law on Aug. 1, 2016, and allows people with an LTC to carry concealed handguns on campus. The Bill allows the President of the University to restrict the carrying of concealed handguns in certain areas as long as those areas are marked in accordance with the law.
Texas House Bill 910 – known as "open carry" – became law on Jan. 1, 2016. While it does allow open carry of handguns by LTC holders, it specifically prohibits carrying an exposed handgun on public and private university campuses.
Q5. What should I do if I see a handgun on campus and feel threatened?
A. If you see a visible handgun on the Health Science Center campus, contact the Health Science Center Police Department at (210) 567-2800. Emergencies should be reported by calling 911.
If you see a visible handgun on campus, contact University Police by dialing 911 from an on-campus phone or 567-8911 on your mobile phone. Remain calm and be ready to provide the Police the following information so they can effectively respond:
- Location (yours and the person with the weapon)
- Description (sex, height, weight, and clothing)
- Type of weapon and where it is on the person
- Behavior of the person
Q6. Can I ask someone with a concealed weapon if he or she has the appropriate permit?
A. Yes. Anyone may ask, but the individual asked is not required to reply unless asked by a police officer. Any voluntary reporting about a concealed carry permit should be done privately.
Q7. Can individual faculty or staff members post signage that prohibits handguns in their offices or classrooms?
A. No, the Texas Attorney General has issued an opinion that specifically prohibits this. All of the Health Science Center’s gun-free zones have been designated by the Health Science Center President. Great care was taken to balance adherence to the law with the safety of the campus community. A list of concealed carry permit holders is not a matter of public record.
Q8. Can a student who legally possesses a concealed handgun be excluded from the classroom on the grounds that the student's presence and his or her concealed weapon constitute a class disruption?
A. No. The mere act of carrying a concealed handgun (with a concealed carry permit as authorized by law) is not in and of itself a disruption of class activity. Likewise, another person's adverse reaction to someone carrying a handgun in accordance with the Concealed Carry Act is not grounds to eject the permit-holder from the classroom.
Q9. Where does a weapon need to be in order to be legally considered “concealed?” Can a weapon 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?
A. The law does not expressly state where a weapon needs to be in order to be considered "concealed." The weapon cannot be in plain view or discernible by ordinary observation. Further, the weapon must be on the license holder's person or in close proximity as to be readily accessible.
Q10. What responsibility does a concealed carry permit holder have to keep his or her weapon concealed? Are LTC holders violating the terms of their permit if someone gets a glimpse of their weapon?
A. A person with a concealed carry permit must conceal the weapon. If a person's coat opens in the act of raising his or her arm to ask a question, for example, and a handgun can be seen, it is not a violation. A violation would occur when a person knowingly and intentionally displays the handgun in plain view of another person.
Q11. What should I do if a student takes a firearm out of his or her backpack?
A. Health Science Center students, staff members, faculty members and visitors may not display their handguns on Health Science Center campuses. They must keep their handguns concealed at all times, barring life-threatening emergencies. If you see a handgun on campus, it should be reported to the Health Science Center Police Department so it can be documented and properly investigated. You can reach the Health Science Center Police Department at (210) 567-2800 for general calls or 911 for emergencies.
Q12. Can I bring my handgun with me on a walking tour of a Health Science Center campus?
A. If you are licensed to carry and you keep your handgun concealed, you may bring your handgun on campus starting Aug. 1, 2016. However, you may not display it publicly, and handguns may not be taken into buildings or areas that are designated as exclusion zones.
Q13. How will the Health Science Center manage someone who has a gun and is exhibiting threatening behavior?
A. It is a criminal act to exhibit threatening behavior with a gun, regardless of the individual's concealed carry permit status. When a crime is committed on campus, Health Science Center police officers will respond and take appropriate law enforcement action.
Q14. Does a police officer have the right to disarm me?
A. 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.
Q15. As an LTC holder, may I use my weapon as a means of defense if there are shots being fired?
A. A weapon may be used in self-defense only as allowed by law. By doing so, the person acting is doing so as a private citizen and not as an authorized agent of the Health Science Center.
Q16. If an incident occurs in my classroom with a person with a handgun, what should I do?
A. Do not confront the person; call 911. 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.
Q17. Because of the world we live in today, there is an increased interest and concern about safety in workplaces. What is being done at the Health Science Center to enhance safety measures for students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors?
A. There are a number of measures that we have either implemented in the last few years or have plans to implement in the coming months and years, including, but not limited to the following:
- Additional campus police officers
- Enhanced training for members of our police force
- Training for students, faculty and staff
- Additional controlled access entry points
- Improved lighting
...as well as other important enhancements that will make our campuses even more secure than they are currently. Stay tuned for other security enhancements which will be communicated in the months ahead.
Q18. I'm a CHL holder in another state and I'm aware that Texas has reciprocity with my state. Will that be recognized in the Health Science Center’s new campus carry policy?
A. Reciprocal Licenses are valid. Verify if your state's license is valid under a reciprocal agreement by reviewing the Texas Department of Public Safety's website on Agreements with Other States.