Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Why does UTMB 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 UTMB while maintaining the safety of our campus community.
Q. When does the new law take effect?
A. Campus carry went into effect on Aug. 1, 2016.
Q. 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. To obtain a concealed handgun license, 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 a CHL instructor that is certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Q. Are handguns the only type of firearm to which campus carry applies?
A. Yes. Senate Bill 11 makes it legal for concealed handgun license (CHL) holders to carry handguns on campus, starting Aug. 1, 2016. Since CHLs do not permit rifles and other weapons, those items remain prohibited at UTMB.
Q. Who developed UTMB’s campus carry policy?
A. The Campus Carry Committee, representing UTMB faculty, staff, students and community members, began meeting in September 2015. Sessions were organized to allow the larger UTMB community an opportunity to share its suggestions on the university's campus carry policy. The Campus Carry Committee submitted recommendations to the UTMB President on Dec. 21, 2015; the documents were posted online. The approved recommendations have been submitted to the Board of Regents..
Q. What kinds of things will the UTMB Campus Carry Committee consider as it develops the university's campus carry policy?
A. Senate Bill 11 gives the presidents of Texas' public universities the option to designate handgun-free zones on their campuses. UTMB's task force considered areas that could be designated as gun-free zones, how and where to place signage to notify the UTMB community and visitors about the law, whether lock-boxes and storage units were needed and where they would be installed, and how to educate the campus community about the new law.
Q. I have questions about the recommendations. How do I send my thoughts directly to the UTMB Campus Carry Committee?
A. You can ask questions by filling out the Campus Carry Form.
Q. 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 a concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry concealed handguns in permitted areas on campus. The handguns must remain concealed.
Texas House Bill 910 – known as "open carry" – became law on Jan. 1, 2016, and makes it legal for CHL holders to carry visible handguns in the state of Texas. However, open carry would not apply at public universities, including UTMB, so even when both laws go into effect, individuals will not be allowed to carry visible handguns at UTMB.
Q. I don't have a concealed handgun license, but I own a handgun and I'm a safe person. Why can't I bring my handgun on campus?
A. Texas Senate Bill 11 only allows individuals with a concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a weapon on a university campus. It's the law, and as a public university, we must follow the law.
Q. How do I obtain a CHL?
A. The Texas Department of Public Safety administers concealed handgun licenses. Visit dps.texas.gov and click on the "concealed handgun" link for more information.
Q. What should I do if I see a handgun on campus and feel threatened?
A. If you see a visible handgun on a UTMB campus, contact the UTMB Police Department at (409) 772-1111. Emergencies should be reported to the local Police Department by calling 911.
Q. What should I do if I see a classmate with a gun?
A. UTMB prohibits the visible display of handguns. Contact the UTMB Police Department if you have a concern.
Q. 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.
Q. Can faculty members ask their students if they have concealed carry permits?
A. Faculty members may ask, but students are not required to provide that information, and 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. Faculty members should not, under any circumstances, coerce students into revealing their concealed carry status or pressure them to answer concealed carry queries.
Q. Can individual faculty or staff members post signage that prohibits handguns in their offices or classrooms?
A. No. All of UTMB's gun-free zones have been designated by the UTMB President and will be reviewed by the UT System Board of Regents. Great care was taken to balance adherence to the law with the safety of the campus community.
Q. 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.
Q. Can a supervisor request a list of employees who have a concealed carry permit?
A. No. This information is not a matter of public record.
Q. 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 discernable by ordinary observation. Further, the weapon must be on the license holder's person or in close proximity (as to be readily accessible). UTMB’s Campus Carry Committee recommended that handguns, whether carried on the body or in a closely controlled object, must be in a holstered or trigger-locked state.
Q. What responsibility does a concealed carry permit holder have to keep his or her weapon concealed? Are CHL 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.
Q. What should I do if a student takes a firearm out of his or her backpack?
A.UTMB students, staff members, faculty members and visitors may not display their handguns on UTMB 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 UTMB Police Department so it can be documented and properly investigated. You can reach the UTMB Police Department at (409) 772-1111 (for general calls) or 911 (for emergencies).
Q. Can I bring my handgun with me on a walking tour of the UTMB campus?
A. If you have a valid concealed handgun license (CHL) 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.
Q. How will UTMB 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, UTMB police officers will respond and take appropriate law enforcement action.
Q. 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.
Q. 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 UTMB.
Q. If an incident occurs in my classroom with a person with a handgun, what should I do?
A. Do not confront the person; call the police. 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.
Q. I'm a CHL holder in another state and I'm aware that Texas has reciprocity with my state. Will that be recognized in UTMB's new campus carry policy?
A. The Texas Department of Public Safety publishes information about CHL licensing reciprocity at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/RSD/CHL/legal/reciprocity
Q. Are knives banned from certain buildings as are concealed handguns?
A. In Texas, certain knives by their design are illegal to possess. The Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46 at Section 46.01 defines an illegal knife as (A) knife with a blade over five and one half inches; (B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown; (C) dagger, including, but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard; (D) bowie knife; (E) sword; or (F) spear.
A knife is further defined as any bladed hand instrument that is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or stabbing a person with the instrument. By Institutional Policy, IHOP 08.02.04, Possession of Weapons - illegal knives are forbidden on the premises of the university. So in summary, knives are not banned; rather illegal knives are banned from university buildings.