Austin, TX -(AmmoLand.com)- On December 21st, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued 4 opinions (see links below) which directly impact SB 11 Campus Carry, HB 910 Licensed Open Carry and the implementation of SB 273.
You may be less familiar with SB 273 by Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City).
In 2003, SB 501 by Sen. Ken Armbrister (D-Victora) and Rep. Susanna Gratia Hupp passed in the Texas Legislature. The NRA lobbyist and I referred to this bill as CHL Preemption.
SB 501 reinforced the Texas Constitution to firmly state only the Legislature controls where a person with a Texas Handgun License may or or may not “carry” on tax-payer owned public property, open to the general public, not prohibited by Texas law.
The need for SB 501 evolved from ongoing complaints by licensees that some Texas cities, and other governmental entities, were posting PC 30.06 signs on locations such as a city-owned marina on the coast, city-owned parking lots, and even the non-secured portion of a city-owned airports, and more which are not off-limits to CHLs.
Law-abiding Texas licensees were being instructed on the list of prohibited locations during their CHL class only to have a whole different experience in practice. The PC 30.06 sign was created for private property with very limited other applications: such as posting outside a governmental meeting. This means the meeting itself, not permanently on the building.
With the passage of SB 501, most of the offending signs came down as they were not longer enforceable and acted only as a threat to law-abiding Texas licensees and causing confusion for law enforcement.
However, over the years PC 30.06 signs began popping up again, posted on various inappropriate properties. No posting of 30.06 was ever “incident driven” so it’s reasonable to presume such postings to be political whim.
The language of SB 501 was not written to include a fine or a penalty, simply the expectation that local officials would follow state law.
In 2013, Rep. Ryan Guillen filed a bill in the Texas House to create a criminal penalty for such improper postings. The bill was negotiated with stakeholders and the criminal penalty language was changed to a substantial fine. This language passed in the House and in the Senate where an over-reaching amendment was tacked on. The House refused the amendment and ultimately we lost the under-lying language of this important bill in the last minutes of the 2013 session. We were not happy to say the least!
With new energy and new commitment in both Legislative chambers, SB 273 was filed by Sen. Campbell and with the full support in the Senate, plus Rep. Guillen’s help and the support of the Texas House, SB 273 passed, adding the complaint process and subsequent fine.
Remember nothing about SB 273 broadened existing state law or took authority from local governmental entities. SB 273 simply provides local licensees an avenue for remedy.
SB 273 now been clarified in an AG opinion. See the link below for the citizen complaint form and the process.
Additional information from NRA’s alert::
On Monday, Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) released four opinions relating to the ability to carry on campus and individuals with Licenses to Carry (LTCs, formerly known as Concealed Handgun Licenses or CHLs). As previously reported, the state’s open carry law will take effect on January 1st and the campus carry statute, Senate Bill 11, sponsored by Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) & Rep. Allen Fletcher (R-Tomball), will take effect in August of next year. Click here for copies of Opinion No. KP-0047, KP-0049, KP-0050 & KP-0051.
While these opinions do not have the full force and effect of law, they do provide legal guidance on both the rights and responsibilities of affected entities and licensees. The major takeaways from these opinions are as follows:
- Cities and counties risk running afoul of SB 273 if they post 30.06 signs, or give verbal notice of a firearms prohibition to LTC’s carrying concealed, in areas of local administrative complexes beyond courtrooms or offices deemed to be essential to operations of a court. Sponsored and passed by state Sen. Donna Campbell & state Rep. Ryan Guillen, Senate Bill 273 imposes civil fines on state agencies, cities or counties which improperly post 30.06 signs prohibiting licensees from public property that is not otherwise off-limits to them in the Penal Code.
- A court would likely conclude that a public college or university exceeded its authority under SB 11 if it banned concealed carry in classrooms or allowed professors to prohibit carrying in their individual classrooms. Also, a ban on the possession of handguns by licensees in campus residential facilities would violate the provisions of SB 11 because it would have the effect of prohibiting campus carry for residents of those facilities.
- Licensees could violate the Penal Code if they carry handguns openly or concealed about their person on the grounds where a school-sponsored activity is taking place, including areas such as streets, parking lots and sidewalks that are otherwise excluded from the definition of “premises” as it applies to nearly every other aspect of the law. This was already current law and didn’t change with the passage of open carry.
House Bill 910, sponsored and passed by Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) & Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, will take effect on January 1, 2016. This NRA-backed legislation removes the requirement for Concealed Handgun Licensees (CHLs) to keep their handguns concealed by giving them the option of carrying their firearm either wholly or partially visible in a belt or shoulder holster. With a 20-year record of law-abiding and responsible behavior, Texas CHLs earned this opportunity and this self-defense option.
Below you’ll find answers to some FAQs on the new statute, compiled by NRA-ILA and the Texas State Rifle Association. Note: this should not be construed as legal advice.
HB 910 Licensed Open Carry: Frequently Asked Questions
There are very few changes to existing law beyond the removal of the word “concealed” from statute, but there are exceptions and licensees should become familiar with those changes.
Bill Analysis for HB 910 – Licensed Open Carry
Frequently Asked Questions
- When will the new open carry law go into effect? — January 1, 2016.
- Will I be required to take additional training to get a new license, one that doesn’t say “concealed”? — No additional training is required. After January 1, a renewed license will be for a License to Carry (LTC), rather than a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). There is no need to obtain a new license before your current CHL expires.
- Will there be changes to reciprocity agreements with other states? — No. Texans with valid carry licenses must follow reciprocal state’s laws, some of which allow open carry and others which do not. Licenses from states which are currently recognized by Texas will continue to be honored, as long as the license holder complies with applicable laws affecting both open and concealed carry.
- Am I required to have a certain type of holster for my handgun if it’s fully or partially exposed? — Yes, statute requires wholly or partially visible handguns to be carried in a belt or shoulder holster when carried on your person or in your vehicle. There is no specific requirement for a retention holster.
- Can I be prevented access to any location while openly carrying a handgun? — Private property owners may prohibit access by a licensee with a wholly or partially visible handgun by posting a 30.07 sign. You could also be given verbal notice to leave the property by the owner or manager. Entering a 30.07-posted property with a wholly or partially visible handgun is a Class C misdemeanor; refusing to leave when you’ve been asked to do so is a class A and could cause you to lose your license. If you are asked to leave, it is recommended that you do so immediately. Note: If a business wants to prohibit licensees from carrying both concealed and openly, they must post both 30.06 and 30.07 signs. NO exposed handguns are allowed on the grounds or any portion of a college campus, or in any of the prohibited locations listed in Penal Code Section 46.03 or 46.035.
Governor Abbott recently set the tone for the new law and the New Year by adopting a policy that individuals properly licensed under Chapter 411, Subchapter H, of the Texas Government Code may carry a handgun openly or concealed on the premises of the Office of the Governor in accordance with state law. Similarly, the Texas Legislature did not impose any new restrictions on carrying in the Capitol by individuals in possession of a valid License to Carry with passage of HB 910. These examples will hopefully dissuade local governments from attempting to pass illegal ordinances and post improper signs as open carry takes effect next year.
Again, be careful out there, Merry Christmas, God Bless, and Keep the Faith.
Texas State Rifle Association
the NRA state affiliate
About the Texas State Rifle Association:
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the Texas State Rifle Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the rights of law-abiding Texans to own, enjoy and use firearms as guaranteed by the Constitutions of the State of Texas and the United States of America. TSRA represents Texas gun owners before the state legislature, and is the NRA state affiliate association.
For more information on membership or supporting the Texas State Rifle Association, call 512.615.4200 or visit www.tsra.com.