The Texas Legislature passed HB 910, which amends current law to allow open-carry of handguns. All that is left is for Governor Abbott to sign it.
Someone asked the following question in what became a very strange Facebook thread: Can a business ban people who are open-carrying guns under Texas’ new law? The short answer is yes, they can.
To delve a bit more, currently § 30.06 of the Texas Penal Code (yes, I do find that hilarious) allows businesses to prohibit people with a CHL from concealed-carrying on their premises, referring to it as “trespass by holder of license to carry concealed handgun.”HB 910 (PDF of the final version here) amends § 30.06 to remove the “concealed” language, because it appears that, assuming the governor signs the bill, the state will now simply be licensing people to carry handguns in public, concealed or not.
It will still be illegal to carry a gun on the premises of a business that derives 51% of its revenue or more from alcohol sales.
Here’s the key part (for the original purpose of the thread): the bill adds a new section to the Penal Code, § 30.07, “trespass by license holder with an openly carried handgun” (see section 44 of HB 910, on page 30).
Sec. 30.07. TRESPASS BY LICENSE HOLDER WITH AN OPENLY CARRIED HANDGUN. (a) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder:
(1) openly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, on property of another without effective consent; and
(2) received notice that entry on the property by a license holder openly carrying a handgun was forbidden.
(b) For purposes of this section, a person receives notice if the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner provides notice to the person by oral or written communication.
It goes on to describe the type of notice a business must post, states that the offense is a Class C misdemeanor (the lowest classification of crime we have in Texas), and, interestingly, states that “it is not a defense to prosecution under this section that the handgun was carried in a shoulder or belt holster.”
A business must prominently display a notice that states the following, verbatim:
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
a sign that:
(i) includes the language described by Paragraph (A) in both English and Spanish;
(ii) appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
(iii) is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public at each entrance to the property.
I don’t know why they used “or” in that section.
One other thing I thought of: Can a business kick someone out solely because they are open-carrying a handgun, if they don’t have a posted notice as described above?
That’s maybe a bit trickier. I can’t think of any specific reason why they couldn’t. “Carrying a gun” is not a protected category like race, sex, or religion, so it’s not a civil rights issue (by which I specifically mean the Civil Rights Act of 1964). I think the more likely problem would be the kicked-out person causing some sort of PR stink after the fact. Of course, even if business owners have the right to ban guns, gun owners have the right to shop elsewhere, so consider your options.
Here’s a fun addendum to this saga: Back in March, a Democratic legislator filed HB 2405, which would make it easier for businesses to ban guns by creating a standardized form people could download and print out. I’m not sure what the procedure is now. The bill has, unsurprisingly, been languishing in committee since April 7.