Your Business Bill of Rights
The difference between open carry and concealed carry is very important for people looking to carry a weapon for self-defense. Carrying a handgun is an increasingly popular idea amongst gun owners, victims of violent crimes or individuals looking to keep their family and themselves safe in an emergency. At the beginning of this year, Texas was the 45th state to join the list of open-carry states.
So what does this mean? How does it affect business owners? What can you do as an individual?
Texas Open Carry Law
Open carry is exactly what is says – handgun owners can now carry their weapon in plain sight in a shoulder or hip holster and no longer have to conceal it.
In Texas, in order to openly carry a weapon, you have to have a concealed-handgun license and be at least 21 years of age. You also have to complete classroom training and pass a shooting test.
Tim Dimoff offers his opinion on the new law: “I don’t like it. There is no criminal background check or medical background check required. In some states, laws aren’t requiring gun owners to complete training courses, they just have to register their gun.”
Nearly 850,000 people in Texas have a concealed-carry permit – that’s 5% of the population over the age of 21.
Will This Affect My Business?
Businesses that wish to ban firearms from their premises must post signs to do so. However, the space in which they are prohibited is limited to their office and/or event UNLESS the owner of the building agrees to the signage. To learn more about what is required of these signs, check out the Texas Department of Public Safety website.
As a private business owner, you have the right to ask someone to leave the premises if they are carrying a gun regardless of whether you have signs posted or not. Another way to protect yourself is to complete ALICE training.
A public or private business owner may prohibit employees from possessing any firearms on the premises of the business, even if the employee is licenced to carry a handgun. For example, all City of Houston employees, except those who are required to do so in the performance of their official duties, are prohibited from possessing weapons while on duty, in a city vehicle or while on city property.
In Texas, many businesses are banning open carry – the list includes Whataburger and Whole Foods, joining a long list of others. Other businesses, such as Kroger and Home Depot, are allowing open carry in their stores. Some businesses are allowing guns in their stores, but only if the gun is concealed.
For a list of other businesses where carrying a gun is prohibited by law, view this website.
What Can I Do As An Individual?
If you are an individual who is licensed to open carry or concealed carry, make sure you know the laws in each state and know them well. Make sure you know the rules of an establishment before entering with your gun. If you are stopped by law enforcement, immediately inform them you have a open or concealed carry and have a licence to do so. As an individual, you should never draw your firearm unless your life or the life of your loved ones are n danger. Always keep your gun in its holster, and never carry your weapon while intoxicated.
Tim Dimoff says “Open carry makes the firearm accessible to others to attempt to grab.” In an emergency situation, a gunman may see your open carry and view it as a risk, putting your life in danger. Before getting licensed to open carry, an individual must weigh the pros and cons of a concealed carry.
On the opposing side, open carry laws may make many individuals feel uncomfortable or upset. If you see a person with an open carry and are concerned for your safety, first observe the person’s behavior. If they are acting suspicious or enter a building where weapons are not permitted, call 9-1-1. Other times to call the police are:
- If the person removes their gun from its holster,
- the gun holder seems intoxicated,
- He/she appears to be very agitated or is causing a disturbance or
- Is acting in a reckless or suspicious manner.
In any case, it’s important to be informed about the laws your state has about concealed or open carry. Knowing the laws and what your business can do is the first step in protecting yourself.
We Have Concealed Carry & ALICE Training
The SACS Consulting and Investigative Services, Inc. team offer trainings and have extensive knowledge on gun laws and what your business can do to protect itself. Schedule a training today by calling 330-255-1101 to speak to one of our experts today!