Cornerstone League Regulatory and Compliance Counsel Suzanne Yashewski provides questions and answers for credit unions in Texas about the new laws regarding guns and the signs for prohibiting guns in their establishments.
Question 1: Do we need to update the gun signs at the entrances of our Texas credit union?
Short Answer: Yes, you should update the signage at each entrance pursuant to the new language provided in HB 1927.
Details: In the 2021 regular legislative session, the Texas Legislature passed HB 1927, which permits persons at least 21 years of age to carry a firearm in public without first obtaining a license. The bill also provides for new language to be used on signs which may be displayed at entrances informing people that firearms are not permitted inside the building.
Prior to Sept. 1, 2021 (the effective date of HB 1927), Texas law required individuals to obtain a license to carry a handgun in public openly or concealed (although the law did permit the open carry of long guns in public without a permit). The law did, however, permit businesses to deny entry to a person carrying a handgun, even if licensed to do so, by posting specific signs at the entry.
HB 1927 amends section 30.05, Criminal Trespass, Penal Code, by providing new sign criteria to be posted at all entrances of a business that wants to prohibit the carry of firearms on the premises. The new sign must include language identical or substantially similar to the following:
“PURSUANT TO SECTION 30.05, PENAL CODE (CRIMINAL TRESPASS), A PERSON MAY NOT ENTER THIS PROPERTY WITH A FIREARM.”
The sign must be in both English and Spanish, in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height and must be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public at each entrance.
Question 2: Can we simply leave up the old signs instead of updating them?
Answer: Well, yes, technically you could leave the old signs up. The Legislature did not repeal the signage language in 30.06 (Trespass by a License Holder with a Concealed Handgun) and 30.07 (Trespass by a License Holder with an Openly Carried Handgun).
That said, we strongly urge you to update the signs with the new language. The reason is that the old signs simply deny entry to a license holder with a handgun.
The new sign is significantly broader and permits you to deny entry to anyone (licensed or not) carrying any type of firearm (handgun or long gun). If you simply kept the old signs up, anyone could lawfully enter carrying a long gun, and anyone without a license could lawfully enter carrying any type of firearm. Therefore, you’d be prohibiting the entry of licensed handgun carriers, but NOT unlicensed handgun carriers nor those carrying long guns, which pretty much defeats the purpose of any such signage.
Question 3: Can we prohibit employees from carrying guns inside the branch?
Answer: Yes, you can prohibit employees from bringing guns inside. However, Labor Code section 52.061 requires employers to permit employees to store firearms and ammunition in the trunk of their cars even if it is parked on the premises. This will now apply to both licensed and unlicensed employees, so you may need to update your policy.
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