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No-guns signage must comply with law

Nearly four months have passed since Texas’ new “open carry” law went into effect Jan. 1, yet there are Texas businesses that have not posted the law’s required signage despite these businesses’ desire to prohibit the open carry of firearms on their premises.

HB 910, passed by the 2015 Texas Legislature and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott last summer, authorizes individuals with a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to carry their handguns openly in a belt or shoulder holster in all locations that allow the licensed carrying of a concealed handgun. 

Stephanie Osteen, a partner with TAB’s Texas legal counsel Jackson Walker LLP, wrote in a 2015 TABulletin story that employers had to establish rules on whether, when and where handguns can be carried on their property and that notice key.

Said Osteen, “Firearms can be legally prohibited in the workplace so long as employers provide specific, statutorily required notice.”  Osteen noted that the new law did not change existing law which allows employees to keep firearms in locked vehicles in employer parking areas. 

So how does a business achieve compliance with the law?  This can be accomplished by publishing a written policy (such as in an employee handbook) that contains precisely the following language:

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.      

Osteen said employers desiring to prohibit the open carrying of handguns should post signage that includes this exact language in English and Spanish. 

To comply with the law, the signs must be in contrasting colors with block letters that are at least one inch tall. 

The signs must be displayed in a clearly visible manner at each entrance to the property.

Failing to post the required signage is the one aspect of the law in which Texas businesses seem to have fallen short.

Questions? Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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