Concealed Carry on Campus


My Gun’s In My Car!

You finally turned 21 and immediately obtained your Concealed Handgun License (CHL). You begin carrying your gun everywhere, and even keep a spare in your car.

You know that you cannot carry your concealed gun with you when you go to class, but what about the one hidden in your car? Can you keep your gun in the car parked in the lot?

Physical Premises?

The Texas Penal Code says that a person commits an offense if she intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses a firearm on the physical premises of a school or educational institution.

–See Places Weapons Prohibited—Tex. Penal Code § 46.03(a)(1)

What does “physical premises” mean? Does this include the parking lot?

Recent Change in Law

Effective September 1, 2013, a person (including a student) who has a concealed handgun license and lawfully possesses the firearm may not be prohibited from storing his handgun in his vehicle either on a street or driveway located on the campus, or in a parking lot, parking garage, or the parking area located on the campus.

–See Transp. and Storage of Firearms in Private Vehicles on Certain Campuses—Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.2032

In fact, the institution of higher education (public or private university) may not adopt or enforce any rule which restricts a concealed handgun license holder from keeping her handgun and/or ammunition in her locked vehicle in the parking lot.

–See Transp. and Storage of Firearms in Private Vehicles on Certain Campuses—Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.2032

Campus Carry

Currently, a concealed handgun license does not give you the right to carry in university buildings. There are groups on both sides of the argument of whether or not carrying in buildings should be allowed.

—See Students for Concealed Carry; & Keep Guns Off Campus;

Kansas has enacted legislation that allows students to carry on campus while Arkansas has restricted this privilege to faculty members. While other states have enacted similar, less restrictive legislation, Texas remains among the most restrictive (along with 20 other states) in a general ban of carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus.

—See NCSL Guns on Campus

According to one report, Texas campuses are very safe in regards to homicides. Whether or not this has anything to do with the current campus carry laws requires further analysis. So, although you may feel safer with your handgun located just outside the building in your car, Texas campuses are a safe place to obtain an education.


–Authored by Carrie A. Harris, BA,


Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Criminal Law Division

1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309

Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479

[email protected]