Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, the firearms laws in Texas are set to undergo a significant change. After that date, individuals will be eligible to apply for a license to openly carry firearms on their person. Previously, licenses could only be obtained to carry a concealed weapon.

While the distinction may seem subtle, it will certainly come as a shock to unprepared companies who see someone saunter into their business on Jan. 1 with a handgun on their hip– even if the person intends no harm. Companies should also be prepared that many activists will seek to challenge businesses (and law enforcement) regarding enforcement of these new laws. Because the statutes themselves contain very specific requirements in order for businesses to reject patrons carrying firearms, expect activists well-versed in the laws’ requirements looking to catch business owners, and employees, unaware. In addition, companies should consider adding specific directives in their employee manuals prohibiting employees from carrying firearms (openly or concealed) on company property.

The new law provides two avenues through which private businesses may prevent individuals from carrying firearms on their premises. The first is by orally informing each individual that firearms are not permitted. The second is by placing written notifications with very specific language notifying individuals that both concealed weapons and open-carry weapons are prohibited. That language is re-printed below, and it is important for companies to note that both notices need to be posted, and that the language which was previously effective to prevent individuals from carrying concealed weapons has been changed. The law now requires that the posted language:

  1. be included in both English and Spanish;
  2. appear in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
  3. be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public at each entrance to the property.

Note that this means there will a total of four statements posted at each location:

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.

De conformidad con el articulo 30.06 del código penal de Texas (sobre el ingreso ilícito de un individuo con liencia de portacion de armas cortas ocultas) una persona con licencia, según lo establecido en law sección H, capitulo 411 del código gubernamental de Texas (sobre la ley de expedición de licencia de armas cortas), tiene prohibido ungresar en esta propiedad con armes cortas ocultas.

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.

De conformidad con el artículo 30.07 del código penal de Texas (sobre el ingreso ilícito de portación de armas exhibidas públicamente) una persona con licencia, según lo establecido en law sección H, capítulo 411 del código gubernamental de Texas (sobre ley de expedición de licencia de armas cortas), tiene prohibido ingresar en esta propiedad conarmas exhibidas públicamente.