TxDPS posts summary of new legislation affecting handgun license holders

Open Carry
House Bill 910
Effective: Jan. 1, 2016
Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun; creating a criminal offense.

General Information:

  • Authorizes individuals to obtain a license to openly carry a handgun in the same places that allow the licensed carrying of a concealed handgun with some exceptions. (See “Exceptions” below for more information).
  • Unconcealed handguns, loaded or unloaded, must be carried in a shoulder or belt holster.
  • Individuals who hold a valid CHL may continue to carry with a valid existing license.
  • A separate license will not be required to openly carry. No additional fee will be required.
  • Individuals currently licensed will not be required to attend additional training. Training curriculum for new applicants will be updated to reflect the new training requirements related to the use of restraint holsters and methods to ensure the secure carrying of openly carried handguns. The new curriculum will be required for all classes beginning Jan. 1, 2016.
  • The eligibility criteria to obtain a license to carry do not change.
  • DPS will be updating website, forms and training materials to reference License to Carry (LTC) instead of CHL.
  • Changes to the laminated license are being developed and will be implemented at a later date.

Signage:

  • Private businesses may not post signs to indicate entry is forbidden on the property with a handgun by a license holder.
  • Texas Penal Code §30.06 provides the language to be included on signs to indicate license holders are forbidden to carry concealed.
  • Texas Penal Code §30.07 provides the language to be included on signs to indicate license holders are forbidden to open carry.
  • Posting of both signs is an indication by the business that license holders are forbidden to carry concealed or openly.

Exceptions:

  • Open carry is not permitted by a license holder, regardless of whether the handgun is holstered:
    • On the premises of an institution of higher education, or private, or independent institution of higher education.
    • On any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area of an institution of higher education, or private, or independent institution of higher education.
    • By an individual who is acting as a personal protection officer under Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1702, and is not wearing a uniform.

Campus Carry
Senate Bill 11
Effective: Aug. 1, 2016
Relating to the carrying of handguns on the campuses of and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education; providing a criminal penalty.

  • Authorizes a license holder to carry a concealed handgun on or about the license holder’s person, while the license holder is on the campus of an institution of higher education, or private, or independent institution of higher education in this state. Open carrying of handguns is still prohibited in these locations.
  • Authorizes an institution of higher education, or private, or independent institution of higher education in this state to establish rules, regulation or other provisions concerning the storage of handguns in dormitories or other residential facilities owned or leased and operated by the institution and located on the campus of the institution.
  • Requires the president or other chief executive officer of an institution of higher education in this state to establish reasonable rules, regulations or other provisions regarding the carrying of concealed handguns by license holders on the campus or on specific premises located on the campus.
  • Authorizes the posting of a sign under Texas Penal Code §30.06 with respect to any portion of premises which license holders may not carry.
  • The effective date of this law for a public junior college is Aug. 1, 2017.

Various Other Changes
House Bill 554
Effective: Sept. 1, 2015
Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a weapon in or into the secured area of an airport.

  • Amends Texas Penal Code to add a defense to prosecution, if the actor possessed a handgun that he or she is licensed to carry at the security checkpoint of an airport, and exited the screening checkpoint for the secured area immediately upon completion of the required screening process and notification of possession of the handgun.
  • Adds the actor cannot be arrested for the sole offense of possessing a handgun he or she is licensed to carry, unless a police officer gives the actor the opportunity to leave the area, and he or she does not immediately comply.

House Bill 1376
Effective; Sept. 1, 2015
Relating to the application of certain concealed handgun license laws to community supervision and corrections department officers and juvenile probation officers; reducing a fee.

  • Allows supervision officers and juvenile probation officers to establish proof of proficiency by a sworn statement that indicates the person demonstrated proficiency with a firearm instructor licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) within the 12-month period preceding the application for the license to carry.
  • This provision applies to the supervision officers appointed or employed under Texas Government Code §76.004, to supervise defendants placed under community supervision.
  • Reduces the fee for a license to carry to $25 for these individuals.
  • Individuals applying under this special condition will be required to provide proof they are a supervision officer or juvenile probation officer.
  • A new fee schedule will be posted on the DPS website.

House Bill 2604
Effective: Sept. 1, 2015
Relating to a concealed handgun license application that is submitted by a peace officer or a member of the state military forces.

  • Exempts applicants who are active peace officers from the requirement to submit fingerprints.
  • Repeals the provisions requiring a sworn statement from the head of the employing law enforcement agency regarding the applicant’s conduct and proficiency.
  • DPS is updating the online application checklist. Until the online application is updated, peace officers may disregard the notations requiring fingerprints and the sworn statement from the head of their employing law enforcement agency.
  • Updated application instructions for peace officers will be posted on the DPS website upon the effective date of this law.

House Bill 2739
Effective: Sept. 1, 2015
Relating to the use of a concealed handgun license as a valid proof of personal identification.

  • Amends Texas Business & Commerce Code to require businesses to accept a CHL as a valid form of personal ID for access to good, services or facilities.
  • Does not affect laws requiring a DL to operate a motor vehicle.
  • Does not affect the existing requirement to present a DL when renting a car.
  • Does not affect the type of ID required under federal law to access airport premises or to pass through airport security.

House Bill 3710
Effective: Sept. 1, 2015
Relating to a voluntary contribution to the fund for veteran’s assistance when applying for a concealed handgun license.

  • Requires DPS to offer CHL applicants an opportunity to contribute money to the fund for veteran’s assistance when applying for an original or renewal CHL.
  • The applicant will determine the amount of contribution.
  • DPS is updating the online application to accept contributions. More information will be posted here when the option to contribute is available.

House Bill 3747
Effective: June 16, 2015
Relating to the issuance of a concealed handgun license to certain retired judicial officers.

  • Authorizes retired federal judges to receive a discounted CHL in the same manner as a retired state judge.
  • The reduced fee is $25. A new fee schedule will be posted on the DPS website.

Senate Bill 273
Effective Sept. 1, 2015
Relating to certain offenses relating to carrying concealed handguns on property owned or leased by a governmental entity; providing a civil penalty.

  • Prohibits a state agency or political subdivision from posting signs stating where CHL holders are prohibited from carrying a concealed handgun on the premises, unless specifically prohibited by Texas Penal Code §46.03 and §46.035.
  • Provides a civil penalty to a state agency or political subdivision if falsely notifying a CHL holder that entering or remaining on certain governmental premises, owned or leased, is illegal.
  • Limits the scope of the governmental meeting prohibition by restricting it to the specific room or rooms where the meeting is held, and to public meetings where the notice is required under the Open Meetings Act.
  • Provides an opportunity for the agency or subdivision to cure the violation within three business days of receipt of written notice from a citizen.
  • Complaints of a violation are reported to the Texas Office of the Attorney General.
  • Provides the Texas Attorney General must give notice to the agency or subdivision and provide an opportunity to cure the violation, before a civil penalty is imposed.

Bills Passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature (PDF)

Source: TxDPS Concealed Handgun Licensing

Charges dropped in 2013 deadly road rage incident – Houston Chronicle

“It was long fought,” said attorney Letitia Quinones. “It’s a perfect stand your ground case.”She said witnesses saw Ables try to open Scott’s car door.Police did not initially charge Scott with any crime after Ables was fatally shot after a traffic crash in northwest Houston on Sept. 17, 2012.A Harris County grand jury later indicted Scott on charges of murder. Members of Ables’ family disputed Scott’s version of events, saying he had his hands up and was backing away from her car.

Source: Charges dropped in 2013 deadly road rage incident – Houston Chronicle

This was an interesting case that hadn’t seen much public attention. One could indeed argue it was a classic example of why “stand your ground” laws exist. But what is really odd is that initially, Ms. Scott was not charged. Six months and a new district attorney later, things changed.

We kept waiting to see this case go to trial but, all that was publicly known were conflicting witness statements. Many “witnesses” didn’t hear or see anything until shots were fired. Others claimed they saw Ables backing up with his hands in the air (sound familiar?). Unfortunately, none of us who weren’t there will ever really know what happened unless it happens to be on video.

It seems in this case, a motion was made to dismiss and the motion granted. That is not a declaration or proof of innocence but, our system is supposed to be presume innocence. Nothing that might have come from this case would have brought Ables back but, it should be noted that both drivers are alleged to have engaged in aggressive behavior that led to a collision and the subsequent shooting. Folks, if nothing else, take the lesson that your behavior prior to a use of force incident may undermine your claim of innocence and you may be in for an expensive and rough ride with the justice system.

-GM

The realities of gun manufacturing

Below is an excerpt from an article that should be considered required reading for both prospective and veteran gun buyers. No manufacturer is without flaw. They all have issues from time to time and even some of the big names manage to produce crap guns.

Trust No One: an insider’s perspective

Trust No One

by Todd Louis Green, pistol-training.com

Trying to decide which pistol to buy? If so, you’re probably looking for one that is guaranteed to be durable and reliable. Well, I’ve got bad news for you. There is no such gun. The day when you could point to a particular brand or model and be certain it would work 100% out of the box and last forever is gone.

After ten years in the firearms industry, including jobs at two major prestigious gun manufacturers, I have come to a very simple conclusion: no one makes a gun that you can be certain will work. Bias and personal preferences aside, most of the major manufacturers are more or less equal nowadays in quality. It wasn’t always that way, but as price became an increasingly important factor in buying decisions of both individuals and government entities, everything changed.

As major gun companies began losing marketshare to Glock, surveys of customers made it very clear that price was one of the driving factors. So what could gun companies do? They had to start competing on price.

The result is, throughout the industry, reduced attention to quality. Both companies I worked for, when I started, had a strict policy of test-firing every single pistol that left the factory floor. Each gun was subjected to two or three full magazines of shooting before it was given the stamp of approval. By the time I left each job, both companies had stopped test-firing pistols destined for the commercial (non-law enforcement, non-military) markets … and in some cases, they stopped testing the LE guns, as well. Why? Test-firing costs a lot of money. You need a range, specially trained and equipped employees, and of course, ammo … lots of ammo. Test-firing a pistol easily adds $25 or more to the price you pay at the gun shop.

Read more @: pistol-training.com » Trust No One: an insider’s perspective

Pope says weapons manufacturers can’t call themselves Christian – Yahoo News Canada

TURIN, Italy (Reuters) – People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.

Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.

“If you trust only men you have lost,” he told the young people in a long, rambling talk about war, trust and politics after putting aside his prepared address.

“It makes me think of … people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” he said to applause.

Source: Pope says weapons manufacturers can’t call themselves Christian – Yahoo News Canada

At the risk of drawing God’s ire, it seems to me the Pope is has just gone off the reservation in the name of populists sentiment. In fact, while calling others hypocrites, it seems he needs to look to his own Church. Specifically, if he’s going to walk the walk, he needs to disband the Swiss Guard and ask that Italy stop providing security of any kind to the Vatican. By his stated logic, the Catholic Church is apparently a bunch of hypocrites for having made a substantial investment in small arms to defend the papacy.

-GM

Uber bans guns for drivers and passengers

Uber-1024x519Remember that mass shooting an Uber driver cut short by engaging the bad guy with his own gun? Apparently Uber doesn’t. Or they do and have decided to ban drivers and passengers from carrying guns.

The policy shown above appears on Uber’s website. It stands in contrast with Uber’s statement following the Chicago incident. At the time, spokesperson Jen Mullin said the the company, “requires all its drivers to abide by local, state and federal laws pertaining to transporting firearms in vehicles.”

Now just in case you were thinking Lyft might be a better option, here’s their current policy:

To keep our entire community comfortable, Lyft has a strict “No Weapons” policy. This means that if any driver or passenger possesses a weapon in a Lyft vehicle, regardless of whether possession is legal where they are, they will be removed from the platform.

We approach this issue from a community perspective — it’s hard to know what someone else is or isn’t comfortable with. The mere presence of a weapon might make another community member distressed.

Lyft reserves sole judgement on what constitutes a “weapon”.

Personally, I try to avoid using cabs, Uber, Lyft, of even a bus if I can. But it seems to me that both Uber and Lyft are blowing business opportunities for the sake of being politically correct. Given the behavior of some drivers with these services, I’m not sure I’m willing to give up my self-defense options for a cheap ride.

-GM