Thursday, July 11, 2013

TX Bill To Allow Concealed Carry In Gov't Buildings

Texas Senator Dan Patrick filed a bill that prohibits government agencies, offices, and buildings from banning or restricting concealed carry license holders from carrying on the premises.

SB 38 is another "sidebar" bill within the 83rd Legislature's second special session. The session was called for the purpose of addressing three specific issues.

None the less, this bill is a positive step towards restoring Second Amendment protections to Texas residents. It is the second bill designed to restore Second Amendment protections to be filed in the special session.

The bill forces offices such as Motor Vehicle Processing and Licensing offices and other bureaucratic agencies from prohibiting lawfully concealed weapons from their offices. Those agencies and offices will be forced to remove their warning signs. If they attempt to enforce a "gun ban", the agency could face fines and prosecution. But the new law does not affect government buildings already enumerated in Penal Code Sections 46.03 and 46.035.

       Sec. 411.209.  WRONGFUL EXCLUSION OF CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSE HOLDER. (a) A state agency or a political subdivision of the state may not provide notice by a communication described by Section 30.06, Penal Code, or by any sign expressly referring to that law or to a concealed handgun license, that a license holder carrying a handgun under the authority of this subchapter is prohibited from entering or remaining on a premises or other place owned or leased by the governmental entity unless license holders are prohibited from carrying a handgun on the premises or other place by Section 46.03 or 46.035, Penal Code.
       (b)  A state agency or a political subdivision of the state that violates Subsection (a) is liable for a civil penalty of:
             (1)  not less than $1,000 and not more than $1,500 for the first violation; and
             (2)  not less than $10,000 and not more than $10,500 for the second or a subsequent violation.

The bill does not lift or alter the ban on carrying weapons into legitimate government meeting places such as town halls (when in session), city council meetings, and similar.

  SECTION 2.  Section 46.035(c), Penal Code, is amended to read as follows:
       (c)  A license holder commits an offense if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, in the room or rooms where a [at any] meeting of a governmental entity is held and if the meeting is an open meeting subject to Chapter 551, Government Code, and the entity provided notice as required by that chapter.

It also does not allow for license holders to carry into public or open-enrollment schools, unless the carrier meet the special licensing requirements and has the authority to do so. The bill also does not permit concealed carry in hospitals.

The full text of SB 38 is available here.