Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Why does UTSA need a campus carry policy?
  2. When does the new law take effect?
  3. Can anybody carry a handgun on a Texas public university campus when the new law takes effect?
  4. Are handguns the only type of firearm to which campus carry applies?
  5. Who developed UTSA's campus carry policy?
  6. What kinds of things did the UTSA task force consider when it developed the university's campus carry policy?
  7. Is there a difference between campus carry and open carry?
  8. I don't have a license to carry a handgun , but I own a handgun and I'm a safe person. Why can't I bring my handgun on campus?
  9. What is the penalty for individuals who violate the campus carry law?
  10. How do I obtain a LTC?
  11. Can a UTSA international student on a student visa apply for a license to carry a handgun (LTC) from the DPS?
  12. Can an undocumented student apply for a license to carry a handgun (LTC) from the DPS?
  13. How do I keep up to date on campus safety at UTSA?
  14. What should I do if I see a handgun on campus and feel threatened?
  15. What should I do if I see a classmate with a gun?
  16. Can I ask someone with a concealed weapon if he or she has the appropriate permit?
  17. Can faculty members ask their students if they have concealed carry permits?
  18. Am I allowed to carry a handgun when I meet with a UTSA professor or staff member?
  19. How would I know if a faculty of staff member's office is an exclusion zone?
  20. As a faculty or staff member who is permitted to make their office an exclusion zone, what type of notice am I required to give to visitors if I don't want handguns brought into my office?
  21. 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?
  22. Can a supervisor request a list of employees who have a concealed carry permit?
  23. What resources are available for faculty and staff members who are anxious about the new law?
  24. 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?
  25. 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?
  26. What should I do if someone takes a firearm out of his or her backpack or briefcase?
  27. What happens if I am at an off-campus event, sponsored by a UTSA registered student organization, and someone shows a gun? Is that okay since they are not on campus?
  28. Why didn't UTSA ban handguns from classrooms?
  29. Can I bring my handgun with me on a walking tour of the UTSA campus?
  30. Are handguns permitted in UTSA residence halls or apartments?
  31. I'm a new UTSA student and I plan to attend convocation. Can I bring my concealed handgun with me?
  32. Can I take my handgun into a food court on campus?
  33. Can I bring my concealed handgun into the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures?
  34. Are guns allowed in the Child Development Center on the UTSA Main Campus?
  35. Will handguns be permitted at UTSA during finals week?
  36. I'm a UTSA Roadrunner at heart and I just purchased season tickets to UTSA's home football games. Can I take my concealed handgun with me into the Alamodome during UTSA football games?
  37. I heard that UTSA won't let concealed handguns into places that serve alcohol. Does that mean I can't eat at the Main Campus Chili's Too?
  38. Can I take my handgun to the Alamodome during commencement ceremonies?
  39. I'm a LTC holder and I take classes at UTSA and at the Alamo Colleges. Why can I carry my concealed handgun at UTSA but not at community colleges?
  40. Will UTSA require students, faculty and staff members who have a concealed handgun license to register with the UTSA Police Department?
  41. How will UTSA manage someone who has a gun and is exhibiting threatening behavior?
  42. Does a police officer have the right to disarm me?
  43. May I use my weapon as a means of defense if there are shots being fired?
  44. What can I do to prepare for the new law?
  45. If an incident occurs in my classroom with a person with a handgun, what should I do?
  46. I'm a LTC holder in another state and I'm aware that Texas has reciprocity with my state. Will that be recognized in UTSA's new campus carry policy?

Resources

1. Why does UTSA 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 license to carry a handgun (LTC) holders. The purpose of the campus carry policy is to provide guidance on how the law will be implemented at UTSA while maintaining the safety of the campus community.

2. When does the new law take effect?

A. Campus carry takes effect on Aug. 1, 2016. UTSA implemented education and training initiatives before the law took effect.

3. Can anybody carry a handgun on a Texas public university campus when the new law takes effect?

A. Campus carry is limited to license to carry a handgun (LTC) 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 LTC instructor that is certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

4. Are handguns the only type of firearm to which campus carry applies?

A. Yes. Senate Bill 11 makes it legal for license to carry a handgun (LTC) holders to carry handguns on campus, starting Aug. 1, 2016. Since LTCs do not permit rifles and other weapons, those items remain prohibited at UTSA.

5. Who developed UTSA's campus carry policy?

A. A campus carry task force comprised of UTSA students, faculty members, staff members and administrators was appointed in fall 2015 to develop recommendations to implement campus carry at UTSA. The task force organized listening sessions while it conducted its work to obtain input from the larger UTSA community and other university supporters. After those recommendations were submitted, a campus carry policy on April 13, 2016 and revised exclusion zones on July 29th, 2016.

6. What kinds of things did the UTSA task force consider when it developed the university's campus carry policy?

A. Senate Bill 11 gave the presidents of Texas' public universities the option to designate handgun-free zones on their campuses. UTSA's task force considered areas that could be designated as gun-free zones, how and where to place signage to notify the UTSA community and visitors about the law, whether lock-boxes and storage units would be needed and how to educate the campus community about the new law.

7. 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 license to carry a handgun (LTC) 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 made it legal for LTC holders to carry visible handguns in the state of Texas. However, open carry does not apply at public universities, including UTSA, so even when both laws are in effect, individuals will not be allowed to visibly carry handguns at UTSA.

8. I don't have a license to carry a handgun , 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 license to carry a handgun (LTC) to carry a weapon on a university campus. It's the law, and as a public university, we must follow the law.

9. What is the penalty for individuals who violate the campus carry law?

A. Violating the campus carry law by intentionally displaying a handgun or going into a restricted gun-free area is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Individuals without a valid License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) who enter a campus building with a handgun commit a third degree felony punishable by jail time of 2 to 10 years and a fine up to $10,000.

10. How do I obtain a LTC?

A. The Texas Department of Public Safety administers licenses to carry a handgun. Visit www.txdps.state.tx.us and click on the "Handgun Licensing" link for more information.

11. Can a UTSA international student on a student visa apply for a license to carry a handgun (LTC) from the DPS?

A. Probably not. With few exceptions, the law prohibits international students from purchasing handguns and ammunition.

12. Can an undocumented student apply for a license to carry a handgun (LTC) from the DPS?

A. No. To obtain a LTC, an individual must first be a legal Texas resident for six months. Undocumented students are not legal Texas residents.

13. How do I keep up to date on campus safety at UTSA?

A. In adherence to the Clery Act, UTSA posts annual security reports on the Police Department website. To view the most recent Clery data, visit www.utsa.edu/utsapd and click on the appropriate link on the left side of the web page.

14. What should I do if I see a handgun on campus and feel threatened?

A. If you see someone carrying a handgun on campus, contact the UTSA Police Department at 210-458-4242. Emergencies should be reported to the Police Department by calling 210-458-4911.

15. What should I do if I see a classmate with a gun?

A. UTSA prohibits the visible display of handguns. Contact the UTSA Police Department if you have a concern.

16. 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.

17. 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. 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, attempt to coerce students into revealing their concealed carry status or pressure them to answer concealed carry queries.

18. Am I allowed to carry a handgun when I meet with a UTSA professor or staff member?

A. Faculty and staff who are the sole occupant of an office that is not generally open to the public may designate their office as an exclusion zone.

19. How would I know if a faculty of staff member's office is an exclusion zone?

A. To comply with the policy, faculty and staff will be required to give verbal notification to office visitors that handguns are not permitted and, when feasible, to provide written notice.

20. As a faculty or staff member who is permitted to make their office an exclusion zone, what type of notice am I required to give to visitors if I don't want handguns brought into my office?

A. Faculty and staff MUST give verbal/oral notification to office visitors that handguns are not permitted. When feasible, they also should provide written notice, but that written notice CANNOT be in the form of a sign because doing so would invoke the statute's (Texas Penal Code - Section 30.06) specific signage requirements. See guidelines here. Instead, faculty and staff should consider including the written notification in their class syllabus, a small hand-out postcard that can be stationed on a table near the entrance to the office, an email footer notification, a notification message included in Outlook meeting invitations, or on the department website.

21. 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.

22. 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.

23. What resources are available for faculty and staff members who are anxious about the new law?

A. UTSA faculty and staff members should use the Employee Assist Program. Visit www.utsa.edu/hr for details. Or, contact the Employee Relations team in the Office of Human Resources at 210-458-7891 for guidance.

24. 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).

25. What responsibility does a license to carry a handgun (LTC) 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 license to carry a handgun (LTC) 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.

26. What should I do if someone takes a firearm out of his or her backpack or briefcase?

A. UTSA students, staff members, faculty members and visitors may not display their handguns on UTSA 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 UTSA Police Department so it can be documented and properly investigated. You can reach the UTSA Police Department at 210-458-4242 (for general calls) or 210-458-4911 (for emergencies).

27. What happens if I am at an off-campus event, sponsored by a UTSA registered student organization, and someone shows a gun? Is that okay since they are not on campus?

A. Your location would determine whether open carry is legal. If you encounter a situation at a UTSA-sponsored event that makes you uncomfortable, you should speak with the UTSA staff member who oversees the group that held the event. If you're unaware of what type of UTSA event it was, conduct Student Conduct and Community Standards at 210-458-4720.

28. Why didn't UTSA ban handguns from classrooms?

A. Senate Bill 11 states that a university president has the authority to enact "reasonable rules and regulations" but the rules may not either "generally prohibit" or "have the effect of generally prohibiting" license holders from carrying concealed handguns on campus. Banning concealed handguns from classrooms would be considered a general prohibition and so would violate the law.

29. Can I bring my handgun with me on a walking tour of the UTSA campus?

A. If you have a valid license to carry a handgun (LTC) and you keep your handgun concealed, you may bring your handgun on campus starting Aug. 1, 2016. However, you may not display it publicly.

30. Are handguns permitted in UTSA residence halls or apartments?

A. Concealed handguns in shared occupancy housing units are not allowed. UTSA's campus carry plan only permits handguns in single occupancy units.

31. I'm a new UTSA student and I plan to attend convocation. Can I bring my concealed handgun with me?

A. Concealed handguns will be permitted on public university campuses starting Aug. 1, 2016. If you have a license to carry a handgun (LTC), you may bring your concealed handgun to convocation.

32. Can I take my handgun into a food court on campus?

A. Handguns are not permitted in the John Peace Library (JPL) food court or in Roadrunner Café.

33. Can I bring my concealed handgun into the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures?

A. No. The museum serves school-aged children from various school districts, and UTSA locations providing care for minor children are designated exclusion zones.

34. Are guns allowed in the Child Development Center on the UTSA Main Campus?

A. No. UTSA locations providing care for minor children are designated exclusion zones.

35. Will handguns be permitted at UTSA during finals week?

A. Starting Aug. 1, 2016, handguns will be permitted at UTSA, except in designated exclusion zones. The policy is consistent year round, including during finals week.

36. I'm a UTSA Roadrunner at heart and I just purchased season tickets to UTSA's home football games. Can I take my concealed handgun with me into the Alamodome during UTSA football games?

A. No. The Alamodome is a handgun-free zone.

37. I heard that UTSA won't let concealed handguns into places that serve alcohol. Does that mean I can't eat at the Main Campus Chili's Too?

A. Texas has an existing law that prevents concealed carry at locations that serve alcohol. Because Chili's Too serves alcohol under a TABC license, it is a designated exclusion zone.

38. Can I take my handgun to the Alamodome during commencement ceremonies?

A. No. The Alamodome is a handgun-free zone.

39. I'm a LTC holder and I take classes at UTSA and at the Alamo Colleges. Why can I carry my concealed handgun at UTSA but not at community colleges?

A. Texas Senate Bill 11 takes effect at public four-year institutions like UTSA on August 1, 2016 – one year before it takes effect at community colleges.

40. Will UTSA require students, faculty and staff members who have a license to carry a handgun to register with the UTSA Police Department?

A. No. UTSA will not track LTC holders.

41. How will UTSA 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, UTSA police officers will respond and take appropriate law enforcement action.

42. 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.

43. 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 acting as a private citizen and not as an authorized agent of UTSA.

44. What can I do to prepare for the new law?

A. The UTSA Police Department will offer training for students, faculty members and staff members that provides detailed information regarding the new law and its application at UTSA. Visit the UTSA Training website (http://training.utsa.edu) to review classes offered.

45. If an incident occurs in my classroom with a person with a handgun, what should I do?

A. Do not confront the person; call 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.

46. I'm a LTC holder in another state and I'm aware that Texas has reciprocity with my state. Will that be recognized in UTSA's new campus carry policy?

A. Forty-two states have reciprocity with Texas. However, while at UTSA, those license holders must follow Texas law.