On Tuesday, a new law takes effect to address the concern that some government owned/affiliated businesses and attractions in Texas ban concealed carry on their premises in a manner reserved for privately-owned establishments.
The Star-Telegram explains that privately owned businesses can restrict concealed carry, but business on government properties cannot, “with exceptions including certain meetings and court hearings.”
The law–Senate Bill 273–will allow concealed permit holders to write a letter requesting an explanation for why a sign is posted and whether the property on which the sign is located is privately or government owned. If the letter results in the discovery that the sign is wrongfully posted on government property then government-affiliated persons overseeing the business or attraction have 15 days to remove the sign(s) or face heavy fines.
The per-day fine for the first offense is $1,000. The fine for the second offense is $10,000.
The Fort Worth Zoo has recently began a focal point for signs banning concealed carry. The zoo has banned concealed carry for years, however, concealed permit holders claim the zoo is wrong to do so because of its government affiliation. Opponents of the gun ban point out that while the zoo is privately run, it exists “on city-owned land,” and should therefore be prohibited from banning the exercise of Second Amendment rights.
SB 273 was sponsored by state senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels).
Texas State Rifle Association legislative director Alice Tripp supported the bill, saying, “For some reason, governmental entities were randomly posting these signs. You just had to rely on cities and counties to do what the law said. There was no penalty if they didn’t want to.”
Tripp said government entities need to comport with the law because concealed permit holders “deserve to know where they can carry.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.