Jeffrey A. Hines

bobsgun2For some, the idea of open carry is frightening. For others, it represents a much-needed expansion of 2nd amendment rights in Texas. Regardless of which side of the line you fall on, it is important to understand what the law really says about guns.

State of the Law Regarding Guns

For long guns (rifles), you may:

  • Carry openly, without a permit
  • Purchase without a state permit
  • Not carry (at all) on a college campus
  • Have it in your car

For handguns, you may:

  • Carry openly after Jan. 1, 2016, with a permit
  • Purchase without a state permit
  • Not carry (at all) on a college campus
  • Have it in your car

The old “CHLs” have been changed to a “license to carry a handgun,” and will permit people to open carry. If you do not have a license to carry a handgun, you may not openly carry a handgun. If you currently have a CHL, you won’t need to get another license. A CHL permits people to open carry.

If the gun is in your car, you cannot have it out in the open if it’s a handgun. It must be hidden. Open carry doesn’t mean guns can go anywhere, anytime. It just means that with a permit, gun carriers can have them openly in the same places as before. The handguns will need to be in shoulder or belt holsters. There will still be places where guns just aren’t allowed.

Places firearms aren’t allowed at all:

  • On the property of a business that gets more than 51% of its business from sale of alcohol
  • On the property, whether in a building or on the ground, of a school or education institution or any transportation of the educational institution
  • At a polling place on election day
  • On the property of a government court, or offices used by the court
  • At a racetrack
  • In a secured area of an airport
  • Within 1,000 feet of a place of execution on the day of an execution

Issue for Restaurants and Store Owners

As people begin carrying openly, store owners and shopkeepers will have to choose sides. One group already keeps track of those stores that don’t allow even concealed carry at www.texas3006.com. On the other side is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group that is pushing for businesses to ban open carry on their property.

In response to Sonic, Chilis, and other major restaurants/retailers banning open carry, CJ Grisham of Open Carry Texas has commented that, “Business owners have a right to make their employees defenseless to the criminal element. We have always honored property rights. Gun-free zones have only proven that criminals don’t read signs.”

The law means two postings will be necessary, one for those carrying a concealed handgun, and one for those openly carrying a handgun. Under Texas Penal Code § 30.06 and § 30.07, the signs will need to be in a conspicuous place visible to the public at each entrance. The signs must be in Spanish and English, in contrasting colors, and one inch in height.