Campus Carry & Open Carry: Know Your Gun Laws – And Your Rights
The Texas legislature recently passed and implemented two new gun laws – House Bill 910, more commonly known as the Open Carry Law; and Senate Bill 11, more commonly known as the Campus Carry Law. We’ve broken down the basics of what you need to know in terms of your rights both as a student of Galveston College and as a Texas gun owner.
The Open Carry Law allows license holders to carry their handguns in an open manner throughout the state of Texas as long as the handgun is secured in a shoulder or belt holster. They MAY NOT OPENLY CARRY on the premises of a community college or on a public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, or parking area of a community college.
The Campus Carry Law concerns the carrying of concealed handguns on campus and went into effect for four-year universities on August 2016 and for community colleges as of August 1, 2017. The Campus Carry Law permits CONCEALED handguns to be carried by valid Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders on a community college campus, in portions of the campus approved for carry. Texas Government Code Section 411.188 requires that license holders are taught proper handgun storage. Galveston College does not provide handgun storage areas on campus or in our residential facilities. However, licensed holders may store or transport a firearm or ammunition in a locked, private motor vehicle on a street, driveway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area on the campus.
A link to Senate Bill 11 (SB11) is provided below:
Galveston College Board Policy Statement:
Facts on Senate Bill 11 (SB11) or the Campus Carry Law
- Effective for four-year universities on August 1, 2016.
- Effective on Community College campuses on August 1, 2017.
- People holding a valid concealed handgun license (CHL) will be able to carry concealed handguns on or about their persons (defined herein as carrying a handgun in a manner such that it must be close enough to the license holder that he or she can grasp it without materially changing position) on portions of university campuses approved for carry.
- A campus includes all land and buildings owned or leased by the university or community college.
- Private institutions will be allowed to “opt out” by adopting broad rules banning weapons on campus, after consultation with faculty, staff, and students.
- Public institutions will be able to limit weapons on campus after consultation with faculty, staff, and students, but those limits cannot have the effect of banning weapons altogether.
- Open carry is specifically prohibited by this bill.
- The law allows colleges to designate specific locations on campus where guns WILL NOT be allowed.
- The intent is that colleges will be as permissive and accessible as possible to handgun license holders.
- The bill will not allow colleges to “generally prohibit” campus carry.
- Based on statements made by sponsors of the law, faculty offices, libraries, and classrooms are not what they intended for gun-free zones.
Reasonable Rules, Regulations, or Other Provisions on SB 11
- Develop based on consultation with faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders
- May not generally prohibit or give the effect of generally prohibiting
- No later than 90 days after establishment of rules, the Board of Regents is required to review and may amend or approve with 2/3 vote.
- Rules adopted must be widely distributed to students, staff, and faculty including prominently publishing the provisions on the college’s website.
- If limits within certain areas, the college must give notice as described under Penal Code section 30.06.
- By September 1 of even years, college must submit a report to the legislature and standing legislative committees — describing rules and reasoning for provisions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the current law regarding guns on Galveston College property?
No. SB11 authorizes concealed carry by license holders only.
What does Open Carry mean?
House Bill 910, more commonly known as the Open Carry Law, becomes law on January 1, 2016, and permits licensed handgun owners to lawfully carry their handgun in a visible waist belt or shoulder holster. They MAY NOT, however, openly carry on the premises of a community college or on a public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, or parking area of a community college.
Is Open Carry allowed on college campuses?
No. Open Carry DOES NOT apply to public colleges, including Galveston College. It is illegal to openly carry on campus, including displaying a firearm in campus buildings and on campus streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and walkways. Therefore, there is no open carry on a Galveston College campus or property.
House Bill 910, the Open Carry law, strictly states that open carry is restricted:
• On the premises of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education
• On any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education
What does Campus Carry mean?
Senate Bill 11, more commonly known as the Campus Carry Law, permits valid licensed handgun owners to lawfully carry their concealed handgun in certain areas on a university campus, excluding those areas designated as areas where handguns may not be carried, beginning in August 2016, and in certain areas on a community college campus, excluding those areas designated as areas where handguns may not be carried, beginning August 2017. While the Open Carry legislation allows licensed holders, starting January 1, 2016, to openly carry their handguns in various locations in the State of Texas, the Campus Carry legislation allows licensed holders to carry handguns in a concealed manner on college campuses, subject to rules, regulations, or provisions set by a college regarding the carrying of concealed handguns on a campus.
What should I do if I see an individual carrying a handgun on campus?
If you see anyone carrying a firearm on campus, call 911 immediately.
Until the Campus Carry law goes into effect, how will Galveston College manage someone who has a firearm on campus?
It is a criminal act to exhibit threatening behavior with a firearm, regardless of the individual’s handgun license status. When a crime is committed on a Galveston College campus or property, Galveston College security will respond and take appropriate law enforcement action. Penalties under the law for violating open carry laws may result in a Class A misdemeanor where a license holder receives notice (by oral or written communication) that openly carrying is prohibited and fails to depart the college campus.
How will I know if my classmates or students have a gun?
Texas law prohibits CHL holders from intentionally or knowingly displaying a handgun in plain view of another person in the buildings of an institution of higher education, or in driveways, streets, sidewalks or walkways, parking lots, parking garages, or other parking areas. If you see an individual intentionally displaying a handgun on a Galveston College campus or property, please call the Galveston College security department.
How will I know where I can and cannot have my licensed concealed handgun?
Gun-free areas are clearly marked with signs. Information on these areas and on Galveston College policies and procedures regarding Campus Carry are available at:
What can I do to prepare for the new laws?
Be informed! Visit the Texas Legislature Online site to read the full text from each bill.