Stores, restaurants and banks prepare for ‘Open Carry’

Holstered gun (KXAN Photo)
Holstered gun (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Friday, Texans will be able to legally carry their guns out in the open. License holders will be able to take guns everywhere you can now, but come January 1, they’ll be allowed to carry it openly. Until now, businesses have only needed a 30.06 sign to make it illegal to carry a concealed gun inside. But now they need another sign, a 30.07.

Every retailer in Texas will grapple with the question to allow guns openly, or not.

The sign will need to be posted for businesses that don't want customers to Open Carry
The sign will need to be posted for businesses that don’t want customers to Open Carry (Texas Bankers Association sign)

“I’m a Libertarian. Sure. Open carry. Great idea. But not in my place,” said Rob Lippincott, who manages the SoCo taco spot Guero’s. They’ll soon have a sign banning open carry. They have a bar and he doesn’t want guns showing if people have too much to drink.

“In this business there are so many things to worry about. One of them now is people coming into your establishment with a gun on their hip. It’s something we hate to have to deal with but it looks like we’re going to have to,” said Lippincott.

Most stores here don’t have signs banning guns. Many shop owners tell me they welcome guns – concealed. But they expect to see more signs banning open carry.

“Folks should be prepared to see them in restaurants, retailers and other things,” said  John Heasley from the Texas Bankers Association. He wants people to be aware of the new law. Banks in big cities will likely have signs but rural banks might allow open carry.

“Gun culture is more prevalent. We do have banks that say it’s the 2nd amendment folks, bring it on in. Probably because employees are armed at these particular institutions,” said Heasley.

If someone is uncomfortable, he recommends asking an employee or security guard. But, like the 1995 law allowing concealed carry, he says open carry is more hype and we likely will not return to the wild west.

The Concealed Carry sign (Texas Bankers Association sign)
The Concealed Carry sign (Texas Bankers Association sign)

As part of this law, gun owners must have their weapon holstered, either on their shoulder or at their hip.

Businesses can purchase the signs or they can save money and make them. But they have to meet certain requirements. The signs must have exact wording laid out in the law in both English and Spanish. The signs have to have block letters one inch tall and must be visible to the public. The letters have to be a color contrasting with the background of the sign.

Here is a link to the law, HB 910, or “Open Carry.”

However, this is not the only way businesses can ban guns out in the open. Store owners can also tell someone they cannot open carry.

If someone carries a gun where signs are posted, they could face up to a $200 fine. However, if they refuse to leave after being told to do so, they could face up to a $4,000 fine and a year in jail.

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