Q. I keep hearing about the new Texas open-carry law. Does this law apply to all offices? What steps should I take if the new legislation has a negative impact on my business?
A. A new law that takes effect Jan. 1, allows for the licensed open carry of handguns. Anyone in Texas with a concealed-carry handgun license will be permitted to openly carry their weapon without new licensure.
You have the right to prohibit people from carrying weapons at your workplace. An employer’s prohibition of open carrying in the workplace extends to the entire premises of the business, which encompasses “the building or a portion of the building.” This includes private places on your property, such as an employee’s desk drawers.
Note: It does not extend to the parking lot, even if the parking lot is private property.
To create a gun-free workplace, an employer must give proper notice to employees and visitors.
You should post a sign that includes the statute’s language in both English and Spanish, appears in contrasting colors and large letters and is conspicuous and clearly visible to the public at each entrance of the property. If anyone openly carrying a handgun chooses to enter the premises despite these visible signs, they will be committing a criminal offense.
To ensure further protection, you should distribute information on your company’s gun policy and keep records of signed employee acknowledgments.