Land Office weighs gun restrictions for new employee policy

Handgun KXAN File photo 1

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The General Land Office considered a policy that would have limited employees from bringing concealed handguns to work.

George P. Bush was overwhelmingly elected the commissioner of the General Land Office (GLO) in 2014. This year, his team has been enacting top-down reforms to the agency that regulates mineral rights to raise money for public school students.

The afternoon of Friday, Dec. 11, employees received a memo that stated: “A GLO employee may not possess or carry a firearm or other weapon on his or her person while on the premises of the GLO or while performing official duties for the GLO in any other location.” It was to go into effect January 1, the date the new “open carry” legislation becomes law.

The note went on to say an employee shall submit a written request to Human Resources if they wanted to carry. The would-be policy did not apply to peace officers, security guards and employees who worked “where safety could be a concern.” Exemptions would be decided on a case by case basis. The policy also included non-culinary knives more than three inches in length.

That policy, if implemented, would have been a drastic change from the office under its former commissioner, Jerry Patterson, author of the state’s current CHL law. Under his guard, the GLO offered concealed handgun classes after work and on the weekends.

Employees gave their feedback to the office over the weekend and Monday the General Land Office told KXAN the memo was a “draft” policy.

The Press Secretary for the GLO, Brittany Eck, said that Commissioner Bush wants the policy to be different than the version that went out to employees and will be updated by January 1. Eck says Bush wants GLO employees to continue to have the ability to carry their handguns concealed on the job, but not openly.

The General Land Office released this statement:

Commissioner Bush instructed his staff to redraft the firearms policy in light of the changes to statute effective Jan. 1st. The policy was intended to provide guidance to staff on carrying concealed firearms if they so choose. The draft language sent Friday was developed by our legal and HR teams, but will not be implemented. The GLO will issue revised policy that will reflect the commentary and feedback of employees and the Commissioner.

Eck confirms that the Alamo Rangers, now under the control of the GLO, will continue to be able to carry openly.

Licensed Texans can openly carry handguns starting January 1.

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