Paige Turner works at a small bookstore in El Paso, Texas directly on the U.S./Mexico border. As a result of a string of armed robberies in the same shopping center, Paige wants to carry a handgun while at work. After weeks of research, Paige finally settles on a Glock 9 mm, attends a concealed handgun class, and becomes licensed to carry (a CHL license). Thereafter, she brings the gun to work where she keeps it in her purse. One day at lunch, Paige mentions to her boss, Rita Booke, that she is armed and not afraid to use the gun should the opportunity present itself. Rita, who is terrified of guns, tells Paige that “guns are scary” and that Paige is not permitted to bring the gun to work, despite the fact that she has a CHL. Must Paige comply?
Yes. With proper licensing, a person may carry a handgun so long as it remains concealed. As you might imagine, there are a number of common sense places where the legislature has stated you may not bring your gun. These include, among others, a government court, a bar (a business that derives more than 51% of its income from the alcohol sales), a school, a place of religious worship, a polling place or a secured area of an airport. While license holders are free to carry almost anywhere else, Section 411.203 of the Texas Government Code maintains that a CHL does not prevent or limit the right of a public or private employer from prohibiting CHL’s from carrying a handgun on the premises of the business. Accordingly, Rita’s request must be honored.
Tilting the Scales in Your Favor:
Employers who wish to prohibit firearms at their place of business must take into account both their employees and customers. Employees can be advised of the prohibition through an employee handbook. To prohibit customers from bringing firearms into your business, state law requires owners to post a sign that says: “Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of a license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun.” The sign must be written in both English and Spanish in contrasting block letters at least one inch in height, and must be displayed in a conspicuous manner, clearly visible to the public.
More on Texas Guns:
There is neither a waiting period (under normal situations) nor a state registration program relating to the purchase of firearms in Texas. Effective September 1, 2007, a person need not have a CHL to carry a handgun in a motor vehicle (including a recreational vehicle with living quarters). However, the firearm must be concealed, the person may not be engaged in criminal activity, and may not be a member of a “criminal street gang.” The person may also carry the handgun to and from his vehicle without a license.