Police Chief Steroid McMuscles reported that Colt Glockenhand who entered Wally-Mart with a shotgun was not charged with “engaging in the lawful open carry of a pump-action shotgun” – a violation of the Cut and Shoot town ordinance. However, when Colt entered Kreamy Kreme, loaded his shotgun and pumped it in front of witnesses, Chief McMuscles arrested him for breach of the peace. Wally-Mart did not have a posted sign prohibiting the open carry of guns; Kreamy Kreme did. Was Chief McMuscles on target?
Texas state law now pre-empts existing city ordinances in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, despite a last minute effort by larger cities to opt-out of the “open carry” law. And, Yes, Chief McMuscles is right for two reasons: (1) ignoring a properly posted prohibition of either “open carry” or “concealed carry” is a Class A misdemeanor, (2) displaying a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm is a breach of the peace and a Class B misdemeanor.
Introducing the “open carry” bill, Wichita Falls Senator Craig Estes noted that Texas was one of only six states that did not permit its citizens to openly carry handguns under any circumstances. The other states are California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and South Carolina. To ban the open carrying of firearms, business must post a specifically worded sign at its entrance(s).
Tilting the Scales in Your Favor
Gray Reed attorney and Texas State Representative Jeff Leach tells us: “The ‘open carry’ bill was signed in to law by Governor Greg Abbott on June 13, 2015, and becomes effective (with a few minor exceptions) on January 1, 2016, making Texas the 45th state to allow some form of ‘open carry’ of handguns. Business and property owners who wish to prohibit open and concealed carry must closely observe the signage requirements.” Special thanks for his assistance in helping preparing this article, based on this legal update he recently drafted.
- To prohibit the “concealed” carry of handguns by licensed CHL (LTC) holders, the sign should include the following language (pursuant to Texas Penal Code Section 30.06):
- “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 la), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun.”
- To prohibit the “open” carry of handguns by LTC holders, the sign should include the following language (pursuant to Texas Penal Code Section 30.07):
- “Pursuant to Section 30.07, Penal Code (Trespass by license holder with an openly carried handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a handgun that is carried openly.”
- To prohibit BOTH concealed and open carry of handguns, both signs should be posted.
- HB 910 authorizes individuals (with some exceptions) to obtain a license to openly carry a handgun where licensed carrying of a concealed handgun is permitted.
- Openly carried handgun must be in a shoulder or belt holster, whether loaded or not.
- Licensing of both concealed (CHL) or openly carrying a handgun (LTC) will not change. Both will be called LTC.
- CHL holders may continue to carry handguns both concealed and open carry at no additional fee, nor will they be required to attend additional training.
- New LTC applicants will be required to complete training updated to reflect new requirements addressing restraint holders for secure carry of handguns.
Even with a CHL (LTC), these weapons may not be carried concealed or “open carry” regardless of whether the handgun is holstered pursuant to Texas Penal Code §46.03 & §46.035:
A concealed handgun cannot be carried while the person is intoxicated.
- In the premises of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which derives 51% or more of its income from the sale of alcoholic beverages and has a conspicuous warning prohibiting firearms, if posted.
- On the premises of a public higher education institution or private or independent institution of higher education, including any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area
- Inside the secured area of any airport, however a person may carry any legal firearm into the terminal that is encased for shipment purposes and checked as baggage to be lawfully transported on an aircraft pursuant to airline and TSA regulations.
- In a place of religious worship if a proper TPC §30.06 warning is given.
- In a hospital or nursing home if a proper TPC §30.06 warning is given.
- In any court or offices used by a court unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization from the court.
- At any polling place on Election Day.
- At any meeting of any governmental body if proper notice is posted pursuant to Texas Penal Code §30.06.
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