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GUNS BLAZING: HOW TEXAS’ NEW OPEN CARRY LAW AFFECTS EMPLOYERS

When a former employee files a lawsuit, it’s not uncommon for his or her manager to be asked to give deposition testimony. But how comfortable would that manager be if the former employee sat across the table at that deposition with a holstered pistol on his or her hip?

That’s a scenario companies need to consider in light of Texas’ new “Open Carry” law, which takes effect January 1, 2016. Under the law, individuals licensed to carry concealed handguns in Texas no longer need to keep them concealed – rather, they may “openly carry” them in holsters under certain circumstances.

Government Code Section 411.203 allows employers to adopt policies prohibiting employees from carrying concealed handguns on the premises of the business, and that continues to be the case with Open Carry. Employers are encouraged, however, to double check those policies to make sure they are not limited to “concealed” handguns alone.

But employers who want to prohibit customers or other visitors from carrying handguns – whether concealed or openly carried – on business premises must do more than just have a policy. Under the Open Carry law, employers will need to post a conspicuous notice with specific wording and typeface in both English and Spanish as described in Section 30.07 of the Texas Penal Code. That’s in addition to the specific notice required under Section 30.06 of the Texas Penal Code required to prohibit persons from bringing concealed weapons onto the premises.

To read a copy of the new law, click here.

If you have Employment or policy questions, please contact, Mike Birrer or Kyle Perkins.

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