While second amendment supporters have been watching the progress of the open carry and campus carry legislation in Texas, another bill with significant effects has passed the Senate, the House, and will likely by signed by Governor Abbott.
The legislation is SB 273, and it preempts the ability of most government entities to ban people who have concealed carry licenses from carrying weapons on most of their premises. The bill passed 26 to 5 in the Senate, and 116 to 23 in the House.
There are significant exceptions. Carry is banned in schools, polling places while voting is taking place, courts or offices utilized by a court, racetracks, secured areas of airports, and in government meetings open to the public.
Carry is still prohibited in places that serve alcohol which derive 51% or more of their income form the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises, at high school, collegiate, or professional sporting events, correctional facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, amusement parks, and places of religious worship!
Correction: hospitals, nursing homes, amusement parks, and places of religious worship are only off limits to gun carriers if they have a proper 30.06 sign in place.
Several other states have enacted legislation to limit the ability of government entities to forbid the exercise of second amendment rights on premises that they control. Arizona requires that the entity provide a safe storage space for personal weapons; Kansas requires that weapons be banned only if security measures such as metal detectors and armed guards have been put in place to insure that the ban is more than symbolic. Mississippi has a provision similar to the Texas bill, to require local governments to remove no gun signs.
The Texas legislation has teeth, but fair notice must be given to the government entities that break the law. Once a government entity is placed on notice that they are in violation of the law, they have 15 days to remove the offending sign.
First offenses are fined $1,000 to $1,500, with each additional day a new offense; second offenses are fined $10,000 to $10,500, with each additional day a separate offense.
It is likely that many gun free zones will be eliminated around the state. The significance of this law is that the default position has become that permit holders are expected to be able to carry most places, with some specific exceptions. Once signed by Governor Abbott, the bill will become law and go into effect on 1 September, 2015.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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