On June 13, 2015 Governor Gregg Abbot signed House Bill 910, better known as the “open carry” law, which became effective on January 1, 2016. The law authorizes individuals with a concealed hand gun license to openly carry their handguns. Many landlords have asked if and how they can prohibit handguns from being carried on their property.
Section 30.06 of the Texas Penal Code governs carrying concealed handguns and Section 30.07 governs openly carrying handguns. Section 30.06(a) of the Texas Penal Code makes it a criminal offense for a person to carry a concealed handgun on a property after the person received notice that such activity was forbidden. Likewise, Section 30.07(a) of the Texas Penal Code makes it a criminal offense for a person to openly carry a handgun on a property after the person received notice that such activity was forbidden.
Notice must be given by the property owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner, such as a property manager. Although the notice can be written or oral, a written notice is more effective, because it prevents a “he said v. she said” dispute.
Written notices can be in the form of any written document, including a lease addendum or sign. However, written notices must contain the following language verbatim:
“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 law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun”
If the written notice is posted on a sign, then there are additional requirements. First, the sign must include the above quoted language in English and Spanish. The TAA has a recommended Spanish translation. Second, the sign must also contain contrasting colors, such as a white background with red lettering. Third, letters on the sign must be in block letter format and at least one inch in height. Finally, the sign must be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public at each entrance to the property.
Generally a person who violates Section 30.06 or 30.07 of the Texas Penal Code commits a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $200. However, a person commits a Class A misdemeanor, if that person refuses to leave the property after receiving an oral warning pursuant to Section 30.06 or 30.07.
Dated: August 23, 2016
Author: Huhem Law Firm, PLLC