The Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG) is taking actions against local governments who are illegally or improperly posting signs prohibiting licensed Texans from carrying handguns.
The OAG is starting a process to crack down on local governments that are improperly or illegally posting what are known as 30.06 signs. These signs were designed to be used by private property holders to notify Texas Handgun License holders they may not carry concealed on the business’ property. The law is specific about where local governments can and cannot prohibit the carrying of a handgun by licensed individuals.
The term for the 30.06 sign relates to the Texas Penal Code, Section 30.06, Trespass by a License Holder with a Concealed Handgun.
The sign must contain the following text in at least 1 in. letters in contrasting color from the background, in both English and Spanish:
“Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun”
During the 2015 session of the Texas Legislature, Senate Bill 273 was passed to provide private citizens a pathway to file complaints against city and county governments that unlawfully place 30.06 signs and interfere with the rights of licensed Texans to carry.
“When uncooperative governments post signs to ban Texas citizens from carrying where it is legal, they are breaking the law and infringing on Texans’ Second Amendment rights,” the OAG’s website states. The website also has a page where citizens can file a complaint if they feel signs are improperly or illegally posted.
Texas Carry has been working closely with the Texas OAG to help develop the complaint process. Terry Holcomb, Sr., founder of Texas Carry said in a Facebook post Monday night, “We still have a ways to go but we will continue to work hard and fight for Texas citizens right to lawfully carry. We will also continue working to hold local governments accountable for following the law.”
The complaining citizen must first notify the local government and give them three days to remove the improper or illegal 30.06 sign. If they do not remove the sign the citizen can then file a complaint with the OAG, according to the OAG website.
Following receipt of a complaint, the OAG will notify the local government of the complaint via a letter. The OAG began sending out these letters to local governments on March 11. Additional letters were sent out on March 31.
So far, letters have been sent to Tom Bean City Hall, Pasadena Convention Center, Mineola Nature Preserve, Melissa City Hall, McLennan County Courthouse and Annex, Dallas Zoo, Dallas County Government Center, Brazos County Courthouse, Austin City Hall, and Abeline City Hall. The OAG letters for these complaints are attached below.
In the complaints against Abeline City Hall, Austin City Hall, Melissa City Hall, Mineola Nature Preserve, Pasadena Convention Center, and Tom Ben City Hall, the improper or illegal signs have been removed and the OAG notified the entities the complaints have been resolved.
The Dallas Zoo was found to not be in violation of the law because the zoo is considered to be an amusement park because of the rides that are located within the Zoo. Texas law prohibits the carrying of a handgun by a licensed handgun owner on the premises of an amusement park.
“Because the zoo meets all of the requirements to qualify as an amusement park in accordance with Penal Code§§ 46.035(b)(5) and (t)(l), the OAG determines the 30.06 sign at the front entrance of the zoo is not in violation of section 411.209 of the Government Code,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew R. Entsminger wrote in the letter to the Dallas Zoo attached below. The OAG notified the zoo that it is closing this complaint.
The complaint against the Dallas County Government Center, the Brazos County Courthouse, and the McLennan County Courthouse and Annex remain open at this time. The OAG gave these local governments a 15-day notice to comply. The local government entity must remove the sign or signs and provide proof by the end of the 15th day after notice was served. If the local government has not complied within that time frame, the OAG may proceed with litigation against that government.
Officials in McLennan County appear to be preparing for a fight with the OAG. In December, the McLennan County Commissioner’s Court approved a police to maintain the ban on guns in the county courthouse and annex, the Waco Tribune’s Cassie L. Smith reported on Monday. County Judge Scott Felton told the news outlet he was disappointed with the AG’s opinion. He said he wants to challenge the opinion.
“The Legislature obviously intended for Section 46.03 to protect judges and others involved in the judicial process. It would appear inconsistent to assume that this protection was only intended within the confines of a courtroom or office where common hallways and areas are involved; essentially assuming that people are free to carry handguns in the same hallways and common areas used by the judges, prosecutors, witnesses, jurors, parties, etc.,” the county wrote in a letter to the AG in December.
According to the letters from the OAG, the offending local government may be held liable for a civil penalty of:
- Not less than $1,000 and not more than $1,500 for the first violation; and
- Not less than $10,000 and not more than $10,500 for the second or a subsequent violation.
The letter also notified the recipient that each day of a continuing violation constitutes a separate violation. The recipient has the option of contesting the OAGs complaint and offering proof as to why they are not in violation of the law.
The OAG website states the following process for citizens to file a complaint:
Individuals who observe violations must first file a complaint with the government that appears to be in violation. If the entity does not remove the sign within three (3) days, citizens may file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s Office to investigate the matter and enforce the law. If you believe a political subdivision is unlawfully posting 30.06 signs and you have already filed a complaint with that entity, you may call The Texas Attorney General’s 30.06 Hotline at 1-844-584-3006, or fill out the online form.