Policy Number: 835

Policy Suffix:

General Policy

This policy applies to all Rice University students, faculty, staff members, contractors and visitors.

The university seeks to provide a safe, secure environment in which to pursue its educational mission. Consequently, all members of the Rice community, including faculty, staff, students, contractors and visitors are prohibited from possessing firearms, explosives, other dangerous weapons and replicas of dangerous weapons (as described in this policy) while on Rice property, in buildings where a Rice-sponsored activity is held or within or on Rice’s vehicles. This prohibition against weapons possession is in effect to the fullest extent allowed under Texas laws, including laws pertaining to weapons generally (Texas Penal Code § 46.03) and to concealed handgun licenses (Texas Penal Code § 46.035). The only exceptions to this weapons prohibition are those authorized in writing by the Rice University Police Department (RUPD) chief of police and those exceptions below, which include exceptions mandated by law.

Any Rice student, faculty member, staff member or contractor violating this policy is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, dismissal or termination of employment. When appropriate, anyone violating this policy may also be subject to prohibition from the campus and/or criminal prosecution.

Rice University expects all members of the campus community to help safeguard the community by reporting promptly to RUPD any weapons discovered to be present on campus. Persons should report any concerns about violations of this policy to the chief of police, associate vice president for human resources, dean of undergraduates, dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies, Office of Student Judicial Programs or a supervisor. Any person concerned about an imminent threat of violence on university property or at a university-sponsored event should report the concern immediately to RUPD at 713-348-6000.


As used in this policy, the term “weapon” encompasses any object or substance designed to inflict a wound, incapacitate or cause injury, and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • firearms, including, without limitation, rifles, shotguns, handguns, BB or pellet guns, compressed-air guns, stun guns, paintball or airsoft guns;
  • ammunition, including materials for making ammunition;
  • explosive material, including bombs, grenades, rockets and fireworks;
  • chemical weapons (other than small chemical dispensers sold commercially for personal protection, such as pepper spray);
  • daggers, swords, spears, knives with blades longer than 5½ inches, switchblades, butterfly knives and other bladed weapons (including those intended for ceremonial or decorative uses);
  • slingshots, bows and arrows, clubs, blackjacks, nightsticks, hunting or martial arts weapons;
  • weapons prohibited by Texas Penal Code Chapter 46 (which includes a variety of firearms, handguns, zip guns, clubs, knives, fake bombs, explosive weapons and components of explosives that are possessed with the intent to create an explosive weapon);
  • other dangerous weapons, especially those intended for warfare, combat or hunting; and
  • replicas or other objects that are made to look like actual weapons and could reasonably be mistaken by community members or police officers as actual weapons (including toy, fake or facsimile weapons).

Any questions about whether an item may constitute a “weapon” addressed by this policy should be directed to RUPD.

The term “possession” includes, but is not limited to, having the weapon on one’s person or storing the weapon in workplaces, residential facilities, lockers, desks, briefcases, any type of carrying bags or containers or in vehicles on university property.

Exceptions to the Policy

The only exceptions to this prohibition on possession or storage of weapons at Rice are the following:

  • State law (Texas Labor Code § 52.061) permits employees (including Rice employees) who hold a license to carry a handgun or otherwise lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition, to store or transport the firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned vehicle in a parking lot, garage or other parking area that the employer provides to the employee. This permission extends only to employees and not to visitors or contractors; it pertains only to locked, privately owned vehicles in Rice parking facilities and does not extend to Rice owned vehicles.
  • In addition, state law (Texas Government Code § 411.2032) permits persons who hold a license to carry a handgun (including enrolled Rice students) to store or transport firearms or ammunition in a locked, privately owned or leased vehicle located in Rice parking facilities or on campus streets or driveways.
  • Exceptions permitted in writing by Rice’s chief of police.
  • Commissioned law enforcement officers or military personnel in the performance of their official duties, to the extent they are legally permitted to possess weapons in the city of Houston and on college campuses.
  • Approved university experiments or projects, if written permission has first been obtained from Rice’s chief of police.
  • Official ROTC activities, provided that the person in charge of the activity has alerted the RUPD dispatcher in advance of the activity utilizing the weapons.


Persons licensed by the state to carry handguns may not bring such weapons into any area not permitted by law, such as Rice buildings or residences (including the Rice Graduate Apartments, Rice Village Apartments, other residences owned by Rice and the Rice Children’s Campus), and they should instead store their weapons in a secure manner that does not violate state law or this policy.

The RUPD does not provide storage of non-RUPD firearms.

University classes, clubs and other sponsored activities that will be using items included in the definition of “weapons” (such as classes using martial arts weapons or theatrical productions using fake guns) must, prior to any use, obtain written permission from Rice’s chief of police to use weapons as part of the activity. It is important that RUPD be notified in advance of any weapons (including replicas or facsimiles) that are being used on the campus, even in university sponsored activities, in order to avoid misunderstandings with police officers and to permit RUPD to respond appropriately to any reports regarding the weapons. Any weapons permitted as part of university-sanctioned events must be stored in the location designated in the written permission obtained from the chief of police. For example, the chief of police may sometimes require that nonfirearm weapons be stored in the Recreation Center equipment room. Weapons storage is not permitted in Rice’s residential facilities unless written permission is obtained from the chief of police.

Responsible Officer

The responsible officer for this policy is the Executive Vice President for Operations, Finance, & Support.

Officer to Contact Regarding the Policy and Its Implementation

Rice University Police Department


Reginald DesRoches, President

Policy History


July 6, 2015


October 3, 1996

Clerical Changes

January 18, 2023

August 15, 2023

January 30, 2024

February 6, 2024

March 4, 2024