GOP Lawmakers in TX Bend Over Backwards to Help Defy Businesses That Don't Want Guns on Their Property
Texas will allow licensed gun owners to legally carry handguns in belt or shoulder holsters starting in January, although individual business owners will be allowed to ban weapons if they display the proper sign.
Those signs, however, must meet strict rules on appearance, wording, and text size – and some gun owners are eager to test those rules, reported The Dallas Morning News.
Standards for the signs date back to the mid-1990s, when Texas implemented concealed carry laws.
The law barred guns from hospitals, schools, bars, sporting events, and some other public spaces – and business owners were also allowed to declare their properties off-limits to guns.
Lawmakers set standardized requirements for signs banning guns – including contrasting colors and 38-word text at least one inch tall in both English and Spanish.
Critics say the standards, which necessitate that the signs be fairly large, are intended to discourage business owners from putting them up.
The new law requires business owners to set up separate signs, using the same standards, for open carry and concealed carry.
Some gun owners try to spot deviations from the signage standards and compile a list of businesses that prohibit guns.
“I dislike giving my money to a business that doesn’t believe in my right to protect myself and my family on their property,” said Russell Jones, who operates Texas3006.com – which features a “Wall of Shame” identifying businesses that ban firearms.
Some of his site’s regular readers catalog businesses whose signs don’t meet standards set out by section 30.06 of the Texas Revised Statutes – and some activists see those deviations from the rules as an invitation to carry guns inside, anyway.
“Didn’t measure the size but looks close to 1″,” one user reported about a hospital in Round Rock. “Recently placed (I was there in early May and they weren’t up then).”
Business owners and some Democratic lawmakers tried to change the standards to require only a pictogram – but instead, Republicans passed an open carry bill that required business owners to add a new sign and update their older ones banning concealed weapons.
They also reduced the penalty for trespassing against businesses that prohibit guns.
Rep. Larry Phillips, who wrote the open carry bill that was signed into law, said the signs required minimal effort by business owners and had not generally been a problem since concealed carry was passed two decades ago.
“Responsible gun owners, if they see the old sign, they aren’t going in,” Phillips said.