Q. We are a private business that would like to prohibit our employees and customers from carrying firearms inside our corporate premises. May we do so?
A. On Jan. 1, 2016, Texas became the 45th state to allow individuals with handgun carry licenses to carry openly. While special rules apply for schools and oil and gas refineries, most private and public employers may still prohibit their employees and customers from carrying concealed or openly carried weapons in the workplace or on corporate premises.
A number of additional rules should be remembered. First, under established Texas law, employees with concealed handgun licenses may store their firearms in their vehicles parked in the parking lots of their employers.
Second, under Texas’s Open Carry Law, those employees may now leave those firearms in plain sight in their vehicles. Finally, off-duty employees have the same rights as the general public. Businesses wishing to ban members of the public from carrying concealed or openly carried firearms must closely adhere to the signage posting requirements of Texas Penal Code sections 30.06 and 30.07. These sections require private and public businesses to display, at every entrance to their premises, the following signs:
“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.”
“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.”
As always, review your policies to make sure that your signage, employment handbook, and other written workplace rules and protocols to ensure that they are clearly expressed and in compliance with the law.