Texas has long allowed licensed citizens to carry concealed handguns, but in 2016 Texas will allow “open carry” for the first time. For employers, this means dusting off the gun policies and signs on your front doors to address the changes in the law. Attached is a guide for Texas employers prepared by our firm. The highlights of the guide include the following tips:
- Texas law allows employers to restrict possession of firearms by employees while on duty or on company property (with exception of parking lots). This law does not affect these rights, and employers may continue to restrict weapons of all types in the workplace, whether concealed, open carry or otherwise.
- If a property owner wants to restrict access to licensed gun owners, Texas law requires the property owner to post a sign advising that concealed and/or open carry is prohibited. Most business owners already have a sign prohibiting concealed carry onto the premises, but starting January 1, the sign should be updated to also include open carry (if you want to restrict both). A property owner can mix and match and is not required to prohibit both. For example, a building owner could decide to allow concealed carry, but refuse to allow open carry.
- Texas law also allows licensed concealed handguns at public universities starting in 2016. Private universities may opt out of the law (and most have). Open carry on a college campus is not allowed, and possession of a handgun (whether concealed or open carry) on a grade school campus (K-12) is still illegal.