I hope that everyone had a fantastic holiday season and are ready to move forward toward a tremendous 2016!
As you may already know, the Texas Open Carry laws went into effect January 1, 2016. If you are like most employers, you are likely confused about what this means for your employees and your organization. The information below is my attempt at making this new law a little easier for you to understand:
WHAT IS IT?
Effective January 1, 2016, licensed individuals can openly carry firearms on their person in a shoulder or belt holster on most public and private places, with few exceptions. Prior to the implementation of HB 910, Texas law required that license holders carry their firearms in a “concealed” manner.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
This law authorizes individuals with a license to carry a handgun to “openly carry” their handguns in all locations that allow the licensed carrying of a “concealed” handgun.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT EMPLOYERS?
Private employers can still prohibit the carrying of either open or concealed weapons onto their premises by posting notices in compliance with both Texas Penal Code Section 30.06 and 30.07 in English and Spanish. The employer can also choose to allow concealed carrying but prohibit open carrying by posting only the notice in Section 30.07 (in English and Spanish).
Employers must still allow an employee who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun, who otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm, or who lawfully possesses ammunition, to transport or store that firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area the employer provides for employees.
Further, effective August 1, 2016, licensed individuals may carry concealed handguns into classrooms, dormitories and other buildings at public and private universities. Private universities have the option to opt out of the law, and many have or are expected to do so. Most public universities are researching and developing guidelines on how best to implement the law. The law does not allow open carry on campuses, and students must still be 21 to receive their license to carry.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?:
Employers will be required to post their Handgun Restriction Posters on ALL entrances of their establishment, including employee entrances.
1) If you wish to ban ALL handguns (concealed and open carry), you will need a set of both 30.06 and 30.07 posted at all entrances of the establishment.
2) If you wish only to ban concealed handguns and not open carry handguns, you only need to post 30.06.
3) If you wish only to ban open carry handguns and not concealed handguns, you only need to post 30.07.
You can purchase these posters from: FederalAndStateLaborLawPosterStore.com or with whomever you purchase your law posters from. I can provide you with a sample for free – just let me know.
Your handbooks should contain a written policy that outlines the mandatory restriction of employees from carrying or possessing firearms while on the job and state that policy violators will be dealt with immediately with appropriate penalties, including termination and possible criminal prosecution.
As always, I am here to help guide you through these confusing policies – 2016 seems to be an active “new policy” year for our government, so if you need a handbook, want to talk about your exempt versus non-exempt labor exposure, or need other HR services, please reach out to me and I will contact you immediately.
Have a GREAT 2016!