01 Jul How the ‘Permitless Carry’ Bill Affects Texas Employers
HB 1927 – The Newest Gun Law in Texas
With the very recent signing of the “permitless carry” bill by Texas Governor Greg Abbott that will go into effect September 1, 2021, referred to by some as “constitutional carry”, we have received a number of inquiries from employers as to whether this new bill modifies their ability to restrict employees or anyone else from carrying handguns into their business and their workplace.
This new bill, HB 1927, permits anyone 21 years old or older to possess and carry a holstered handgun in Texas in public without a permit. This new bill eliminates the current law which requires residents 21 or older to complete a required training and criminal background check to obtain a license to carry. This new law does not change current law regarding those individuals that are prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun as those persons are still subject to the same restrictions. For a full picture, there are generally no restrictions against publicly carrying shotguns or rifles.. This new bill just adds handguns to the list of firearms people can carry in public.
Even with the new “constitutional carry” law, there remain certain places that handguns are generally prohibited including federal buildings, schools, amateur or professional sporting events, prisons, businesses that make more than 51% of their revenue from alcohol beverages for on-premises consumption, and other locations. In addition, municipalities can regulate who may carry firearms in certain locations such as parks.
While Gov. Abbott or the Texas legislature may later fine-tune or change the scope and breadth of the new bill, at the present time, private establishments can still prohibit people (meaning employees and visitors) from carrying a weapon on the workplace, worksite and places of business. If a business owner or employer wants to restrict handguns, or any type of firearm, on the premises or workplace, it should provide specific notices at points of entry with clear language restricting such conduct. The new bill provides specific language that business owners and employers can use and post to effectuate this notice.
For employees, the Texas Labor Code remains the same in that an employer may prohibit an employee from possessing a firearm on their “premises”. A “premises” is defined as “a building or a portion of a building” where the business is located. The definition of “premises” does not include any “public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area.” Accordingly, the current law that an employee may possess or store a handgun in their locked private vehicles is permitted, even if firearms are restricted from the premises.
The new law makes it a Class C misdemeanor for individuals to carry a firearm into a business if they have oral or written notice that entry with a firearm is prohibited.
Rapp & Krock, PC is available to assist you with any further questions you may have, or in understanding the application of this new bill.
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