1. What is Lone Star College currently doing to prepare for Senate Bill 11 which goes into effect for Texas Community Colleges on August 1, 2017?
LSC Chancellor Dr. Stephen C. Head appointed an LSC Campus Carry Task Force to make recommendations on the implementation of Senate Bill 11. In order to gather public comment and recommendations, the Task Force held a number of public forums – one at all six colleges, three centers, and both system office locations. The Task Force also sent out a survey to gather information from those not able to attend one of the forums.
2. What is campus carry and how does that apply to Lone Star College?
Senate Bill 11 is known as the “campus carry“ law and amends Section 411.2031 of the Texas Government Code to allow concealed carrying of handguns by license holders on college campuses. To carry a concealed handgun in Texas, individuals need a License to Carry (LTC) issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
3. Who can carry a concealed weapon at Lone Star College under Senate Bill 11?
Only individuals with a License to Carry (LTC) are allowed to carry a concealed handgun at Lone Star College. To obtain a LTC a person must be at least 21 years of age, undergo required training and meet other statutory requirements. Again, Senate Bill 11 does not go into effect for Lone Star College until August 1, 2017.
4. What is the difference between concealed campus carry and open carry?
Senate Bill 11 only addresses concealed campus carry and allows License to Carry holders to carry handguns in a concealed manner on a Lone Star College campus or facility. Open carry will still be prohibited on a Lone Star College campus or facility.
5. If someone does not have a LTC, can they carry a handgun at Lone Star College under the new law?
No. Carrying a concealed handgun is only legal if an individual has a License to Carry. State law does permit those without a handgun license to carry a handgun in their vehicle if the handgun is concealed and the person can legally possess a firearm.
6. Can a License to Carry license holder carry a concealed handgun anywhere on a Lone Star College campus or facility?
No. The law allows Lone Star College some latitude in establishing rules and regulations to designate certain areas gun-free zones. These rules and regulations are determined based on the nature of the student population, specific safety considerations, and the uniqueness of the campus environment. The designation of these gun-free zones can only be approved by the Chancellor.
7. How will the gun-free zones be determined?
The Lone Star College Campus Carry Task Force will be holding public forums during the fall 2016 semester to gather information regarding gun-free zones. The gun-free zones must have certain characteristics including but not limited to: nature of the student population, specific safety considerations, uniqueness of the campus environment, mental health counseling, health-related clinical facilities, grievances and disciplinary hearing areas, scientific laboratories and storage spaces, sporting, interscholastic and performance events, child care facilities and campus programs for minors.
8. How will Lone Star College let individuals know that an area has been determined to be a gun-free zone?
Lone Star College will give notice to faculty, staff, and students, of each building and/or area where a concealed handgun may not be carried. Notice is defined under Texas Penal Code Section 30.06 to include a sign posted on College property that contains specific language in both English and Spanish or written communication such as "a card or other document on which is written language identical to the following: ‘Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun."
Lone Star College will utilize multiple methods of notice to ensure the College community is aware of the gun-free areas, which may include posting a sign near building where the entire building is a gun-free zone, providing cards to individuals, and placing notices on doors or other areas inside or outside specific buildings or parts of buildings, in the student catalog, student life materials, ticketed events, flyers for events, e-mail communications to the College community, as well as training provided to College faculty, staff and students.
Training and signage will be implemented during the spring 2017 semester prior to Senate Bill 11 taking effect for community colleges on August 1, 2017.
9. Can a Lone Star College faculty member, staff member or student post signage that prohibits concealed handguns in their classrooms, offices or other workspaces?
Senate Bill 11 specifically states that only the Chancellor can designate areas to be gun-free at Lone Star College. Senate Bill 11 does provide some latitude for the Chancellor to approve reasonable rules and regulations regarding areas that might be deemed gun-free. The LSC Campus Carry Task Force is currently reviewing information gathered at open public forums along with researching what some of the Texas four year institutions have implemented. One area under review to be gun-free are private faculty offices.
10. What if someone has a handgun in violation of the law? What is the penalty?
Under Senate Bill 11, a person who fails to comply with the concealed handgun rules and regulations of Lone Star College will be in violation of the Texas Penal Code and is subject to criminal charges. Additionally, disciplinary sanctions may be imposed up to and including expulsion and termination of employment.
A person carrying a handgun not fully concealed with a License to Carry has committed a Class A Misdemeanor – Unlawful Carrying of Handgun by License Holder – Texas Penal Code Section 46.035. A person carrying a handgun at Lone Star College without a License to Carry has committed a 3rd Degree Felony – Texas Penal Code Section 46.03.
11. What do I do if I see someone with a handgun on campus?
Call the Lone Star College Police Department at 5911 or 281-290-5911. They will respond and make contact with the individual to determine if that person is an authorized license holder and is legitimately carrying a firearm.
12. Will Lone Star College faculty and staff be allowed to carry concealed handguns?
Senate Bill 11 does not prohibit, nor can a supervisor prohibit, Lone Star College faculty and staff from carrying a concealed handgun beginning August 1, 2017, so long as it is done consistent with Lone Star College campus carry policy. Unless an employee is required to carry a firearm as part of the employee’s specific job duties (i.e., Police Officer), any possession or use of a firearm by the employee is not considered to be within the scope of employment with Lone Star College. Any employee who choses to use a firearm is acting the employee’s individual capacity and not as an agent of Lone Star College.
13. Does a police officer have the right to ask to see my License to Carry and can he or she disarm me?
Yes. If a police officer reasonably believes a safety risk exists, or has other probable cause to do so, he or she may disarm you.
14. Is a License to Carry holder required to respond if someone other than a police officer asks he or she if they have a handgun license?
No. A License to Carry holder is not required to disclose he has a license to anyone except a police officer. Information about individuals who are Licensed to Carry a concealed handgun is considered confidential and may only be disclosed by the Department of Public Safety to a criminal justice agency upon proper request.
15. Will Lone Star College maintain a list of License to Carry holders?
16. Does Senate Bill 11 make it legal to bring a gun other than a handgun onto Lone Star College property?
No. Senate Bill 11 only makes it legal for a License to Carry holder to bring a concealed handgun onto Lone Star College property, starting August 1, 2017. All other weapons besides handguns are strictly prohibited – long guns (rifles, shotguns, etc.) knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches, brass knuckles, clubs, and explosives. Individuals in possession of any of these weapons on Lone Star College is subject to criminal and disciplinary action.