FAQ: Campuses of Higher Education and Open Carry
Can a “concealed carry” (CHL) license holder bring a handgun on campus?
Yes, after August 1, 2016, for four-year colleges and universities, and after August 1, 2017 for junior colleges, a person with a license to carry may bring a concealed handgun onto campuses, both public and private. However, they still may not openly carry the handgun (Texas Government Code §411.2031).
Are there areas of campus where handguns cannot be carried?
Yes. Institutions of higher education cannot generally prohibit the carrying of handguns by a licensed individual on campus (Texas Government Code §411.2031(c)), but there are a few exceptions:
- institutions may establish their own rules, regulations, and provisions concerning the storage of handguns in on-campus dormitories and residential facilities (Texas Government Code §411.2031(d))
- with the latest legislation from Senate Bill 11, institutions of higher education are required to establish rules and regulations to designate, within reason, specific portions of their campus that are to be “gun free zones” (Texas Government Code §411.2031(d))
- private or independent institutions may establish their own rules, regulations, or other provisions prohibiting concealed carry license holders from carrying handguns on campus, on grounds of school sponsored activities, and in school-owned vehicles (Texas Government Code §411.2031(e))
How do we let a person licensed to carry a concealed handgun know that they are banned from carrying in a specific area of campus?
The authorization to post notices and requirements for signage for any of those areas where license holders may not carry, are described in specific detail in Texas Penal Code §30.06.
What about campus library employees? Are they banned from carrying handguns in the library?
Employers may prohibit their employees, whether licensed to carry or not, from bringing handguns into the workplace, and from carrying in employer-owned or leased vehicles used for work (Texas Labor Code §52.062(a)(b)). Note that this prohibition does not include a facility’s public or private sidewalks, parking, and other driveways or walkways. Also, institutions of public and private higher education may not restrict a person licensed to carry (including enrolled students or employee), from having a handgun stored in a locked personal vehicle in the employer’s parking lot (Texas Labor Code §52.061).
Note that the information above represents only the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s interpretation of Texas handgun-carry laws and of the 84th Legislature’s changes to the laws. You should always consult with your own legal counsel for assistance in interpreting Texas law.