About Open Carry

Since 1995, handgun license holders in Texas have been able to carry a handgun as long as the handgun is concealed. Effective January 1, 2016, handgun license holders may lawfully 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. A license holder also has the option of carrying a handgun in a concealed manner; however, the law does not permit concealed handgun carry on college campuses like HCC until August 2017.

Notwithstanding the ability to openly carry, the law on this subject remains relatively the same; specifically, it is still prohibited under the law to openly carry a handgun on any college campus and on any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area of the college.

Download: House Bill 910 Open Carry

Download: ‌‌
Open Carry Fact Sheet
Open Carry Fact Sheet (Spanish)
Open Carry Fact Sheet (Vietnamese)

Download:
Campus Carry Committee Meeting Agenda 4/26/2016

Handgun Carry Fact sheet

Background

1. What is the Open Carry law which will be effective January 1, 2016?

Texas House Bill 910- known as the "Open Carry" law- provides holders of a handgun license may now carry their handgun visibly in a waist belt holster or a shoulder holster, but they may not openly carry on or in a college campus or building and they may not openly carry on any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area of the college.

2. Is the Campus Carry law the same as the Open Carry law?

No. Campus Carry and Open Carry are two (2) separate laws. Texas Senate Bill 11 –known as the “Campus Carry” law- will allow individuals who have a valid Texas handgun license to carry a concealed handgun in certain areas on college campuses All information regarding both Open Carry and Campus Carry law will be posted at: http://www.hccs.edu/campuscarry

3. When does the Campus Carry law become effective

  • August 1, 2016 - 4 Year Institutions
  • August 1, 2017 - HCC and other 2 Year Institutions

What to do

If I see an individual openly carrying any firearm on campus, what should I do?

  • Call the HCC Police Department at 8-8888 immediately
  • Remain calm
  • Our goal is to achieve safety through education and compliance.

Be informed about Open Carry

HCC encourages all of our constituents to be informed and knowledgeable about the law and how it affects them. Below are frequently asked questions that may be helpful in understanding the recent legislation and the steps HCC is taking to comply.

Campus Carry FAQs

What does “Open Carry” mean?

Open Carry in Texas means you do not need to conceal your handgun as it is "open" for the public to see. Texas House Bill 910 — known as "open carry" — becomes law on January 1, 2016 and makes it legal for handgun license holders to carry visible handguns in the state of Texas. Open carry will not apply to institutions of higher education, including HCC.

Is "Open Carry" allowed on public college campuses?

No. Open carry will not apply to public colleges, including HCC. It is illegal to openly carry on campus, including displaying a firearm in campus buildings and now, on campus streets, sidewalks, parking lots and walkways. Therefore, there is no open carry on campus. The Texas Department of Public Safety, 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.
  • by an individual who is acting as a personal protection officer under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code and is not wearing a uniform.

What is the difference between “Open Carry” and “Campus Carry”?

Open Carry

The "Open Carry" legislation provides that holders of a handgun license may now carry their handgun visibly in a waist belt holster or a shoulder holster but they may not openly carry on or in a college campus or building and they may not openly carry on any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area of the college.

Campus Carry

Prior to changes made in the 84th Legislature (2015) individuals, with certain exceptions, such as law enforcement personnel, were prohibited from carrying handguns inside any college building, even if the individual held a concealed handgun license. Texas Senate Bill 11 –known as "Campus Carry"- will permit handgun license holders to carry a concealed handgun on HCC campuses and into many HCC buildings. While the "Open Carry" legislation allows license holders, starting January 01, 2016, to openly carry their handguns in various locations in the State of Texas, the "Campus Carry" legislation only broadens the right for license holders to carry handguns in a concealed manner on college campuses. The Campus Carry law is not in effective for HCC until August 1, 2017 although HCC will be planning months ahead of that date to educate and inform the campus community, develop a campus carry policy, and address the safety and welfare concerns of our constituents.

What is HCC doing to inform the college community about legislation relating to Open Carry and Campus Carry?

The Chancellor has commissioned a committee representative of the administration and student body to assist in providing input to develop training and education about Open Carry as well as recommendations for policy relating to complying with Campus Carry. Between now and August 1, 2017, the effective date of Campus Carry, HCC is exploring specific rules, regulations and procedures related to campus carry to develop policies that could include items such as identifying potential gun-free zones, creating appropriate signage, determining if and where lock-boxes or storage units should be installed, and conducting community education and awareness programs.

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

If you see a visible handgun on campus, contact the HCC Police Department immediately at 8-8888.

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

The law and HCC prohibit the visible display of handguns, and license holders should know that handguns they carry on campus, even if concealed, are currently prohibited. Contact the HCC Police Department if you have a concern.

How will HCC manage someone who has a firearm and is exhibiting threatening behavior?

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 campus, HCC police officers 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.

About Campus Carry

During the 84th Texas Legislature, lawmakers passed a law we know as the “Campus Carry” Bill (Senate Bill 11). It allows licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns on academic campuses. The law will take effect on August 1, 2016 for all institutions of higher education except for community colleges. The effective date for HCC and community colleges across the state is August 1, 2017.

Many of you have asked about our plan to deal with this new law. The implementation of such an important change in law requires careful consideration. HCC will seek input from our stakeholder groups, including faculty, staff and students, to responsibly assess our options for adherence to the law, while protecting the safety of those whom we serve on our campuses.

As we collectively work toward compliance, it is helpful to consider that our implementation date in August 2017 affords us the opportunity to benefit from lessons learned from four-year colleges and universities that must comply with the law one year earlier than the community colleges. We will pay careful attention to the actions of those institutions regarding this matter, as they work towards compliance, while effectively gathering information and assessing our environment and compliance with the law.

Download: Senate Bill 11 Campus Carry

Campus Carry Overview

HCC Committee members

Name

Title/College

Kimberly Beatty

Vice Chan., Instr'l Svc & Chief Academic Officer

Greg Cunningham

Chief of Police

Charles “Chuck” Smith

Chief Facilities Officer

Fritz Guthrie

Director Communication Services

Melissa Gonzalez

Chief of Staff

Janet May

Chief  Human Resources Officer

Ashley Smith

General Council

Shantay Grays

AVC, Enrollment Services

Zachary Hodges

President, Northwest

Irene Porcarello

President, Southeast

Alejandra Soto

Student, SGA

Marcos Barron

Student, SGA

Josue Rodriguez

Student, United Student Council

Olivia Blake, Secretary

COPA

Sarah Castillo, Secretary

COPA

Dr. Parvin Bagherpour, AVC Int SS

Staff, Student Services

Toni Salazar, Executive Secretary

Staff, Student Services

Roslyn Crain

Faculty, Academic

Tod Bisch

Faculty, Workforce

Letter from the Chancellor

September 18, 2015

Dear HCC Family,

During the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015 a law, commonly referred to as the “Campus Carry” bill, was passed. Officially this law is Senate Bill 11 (SB 11). The bill allows individuals holding a concealed handgun license the legal right to carry a concealed handgun on the campuses of higher education institutions, including Houston Community College System (HCC) campuses and into authorized HCC buildings. The law also allows institutions of higher education limited authority to establish reasonable rules governing the carrying of concealed handguns on college campuses and requires such institutions subsequently to provide a report about their board adopted rules to the Texas Legislature.

Although HCC’s compliance with the requirements of SB 11 is not effective until August 1, 2017, many of you have asked about our plan to deal with this new law. The implementation of such an important change in law requires careful consideration. Accordingly, HCC will seek input from our many stakeholder groups, including faculty, staff and students, to responsibly assess our options for adherence to the law, while protecting the safety of those whom we serve on our campuses.

As we collectively work toward compliance, it is helpful to consider that our implementation date in August 2017 affords us the opportunity to benefit from lessons learned from four-year colleges and universities that must comply with the law one year earlier than the pubic junior colleges. We will pay careful attention to the actions of those institutions regarding this matter, as they work towards compliance, while effectively gathering information and assessing our environment and compliance with the law.

Although we are nearly two years away from responding to the requirements of SB 11, I have established the following tentative schedule for development of guidelines and rules:

  1. August 2016 – finalize appointment of District-wide, stakeholder committee members and issue the charge to the committee.
  2. December 2016 – adopt guidelines available to be used for HCC campuses (Executive Cabinet).
  3. February 2017 – adopt HCC rules (Board of Trustees).
  4. June 2017 – complete employee and security training.
  5. August 2017 – implement SB 11.

Please also consider that SB 11 provides a few provisions allowing institutions of higher education some discretion in tailoring handgun rules for their respective campuses. However, these are limited. The key points are:

  1. Subject to rules adopted by HCC, individuals holding a valid Texas handgun license will be allowed to carry their handgun, concealed on their person, on the campuses.
  2. HCC shall establish “reasonable rules” regarding the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses.
  3. The rules so established may not “…generally prohibit or have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders [from carrying on the campus].”
  4. The rules are to be established after consultation with students, staff and faculty.
  5. The consultations should take into account the student population, specific safety considerations for HCC, and the “uniqueness of the campus environment.”
  6. At any campus location that is “off-limits” for concealed carry, notice must be so identified with appropriate signage.

Finally, it is important to note that the “campus carry” law is separate and apart from the law governing “open carry.” The “open carry” law prohibits a licensed holder from openly carrying and intentionally displaying a handgun on the premises of an institution of higher education.

As we work toward compliance with SB 11, HCC stakeholders will also examine any bills related to the authority to openly carry a holstered handgun. Clearly, we have much analysis and dialogue ahead of us in formulating our rules for compliance with SB 11. We will carry out the development of our rules with regular communication and consultation with faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders. We look forward to your input and cooperation during this process.

Sincerely,‌

Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., P.E.
Chancellor