Guide to Texas Firearm Signs
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Updated: Oct. 11, 2021 - new gun law update
SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE PROHIBITED FROM CARRYING
51%, 30.05, 30.06, 30.07, blue signs, oh my! With the passage of the Firearm Carry Act of 2021, there have been quite a few changes to the signs property owners may use to provide notice that carrying a firearm into a given premises is prohibited. In this post, we want to help law-abiding gun owners stay on the right side of the law with this simple guide to Texas' "no gun" signs.
The "30.05" sign comes from the newly enacted Firearm Carry Act of 2021, Tex. Penal Code § 30.05(c) now gives property owners an option to provide notice to exclude only those carrying without a Texas License to Carry ("LTC") or other recognized license or permit in places governed by the general trespass statute. The only legal requirement for these signs to be effective is that they must be reasonably likely to come to the attention of the person entering the building. Because this requirement is so broad, we could see a variety of these signs develop as Texas property owners adapt to the new law.
Should a non-license holder choose to disregard these signs, it would be a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of no more than $200. However, should a person receive oral notice from a person with apparent authority (e.g., owner, employee, etc.) and refuse to depart, it becomes a Class A misdemeanor—an arrestable offense with far more serious consequences.
Though these signs are effective against non-license holders, they are not effective against a person carrying under the authority of an LTC. However, even if you are a license holder, these signs may be a good indicator of a property owner's wishes to prohibit firearms on the premises. If a person carrying a gun, even those with an LTC, is ever told that firearms are not permitted on the premises by a person with apparent authority, they should depart immediately. Check out our complete video breakdown. Explained: What is a Texas Penal Code § 30.05 Trespassing Sign?
Courtesy of Pixabay
Here in Texas, these signs are commonly called "gun buster" signs. Previously, this image alone did not carry any force of law. However, with the broad-sweeping language used for the 30.05 sign mentioned previously, signs such as these likely have the same effect as the specific 30.05 sign above. Put simply, this sign alone may preclude someone carrying under the Firearm Carry Act of 2021 ("constitutional carriers") from carrying into the premises but would have no effect on handgun license (LTC) and permit holders.
This sign is often seen outside of grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants and has given more than a couple of headaches to LTC holders in the past. However, since Texas Constitutional Carry has gone into effect, these signs no longer have any legal meaning and both LTC holders and constitutional carriers may disregard unless otherwise prohibited from carrying in that location.
This is a 51% sign, which means that the business has a liquor permit or beer license and receives 51% or more of its income from the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption. This sign applies to both LTC and constitutional carriers. Carrying a firearm into a 51% business (except under strict limited circumstances) is a serious felony. While the Penal Code requires the sign to be conspicuously placed, we have seen these signs posted on inside walls and behind the bartender, so stay vigilant!
Further, it is important for constitutional carriers to remember that while these signs are required for LTC holders to be held criminally liable, there is no legal requirement that constitutional carriers be put on notice. As a result, even if there is no 51% sign posted, a constitutional carrier can still be held responsible for violating the statute if the business receives 51% of its income from alcohol.
30.06 and 30.07 signs only apply to LTC holders. In short, a Tex. Penal Code § 30.06 sign that meets all legal requirements prohibits the concealed carry of a handgun by a license holder in the premises. A Tex. Penal Code § 30.07 sign that meets all legal requirements prohibits the open carry of a handgun by a license holder in the premises. If both signs are posted, it means that both open and concealed carry of a handgun by a license holder is NOT authorized.
Interestingly, the language used by the signs, which mirror the language of the statutes, specifically states that the signs apply to license holders but does not mention those carrying without an LTC. Because of this distinction, there is a strong legal argument that these signs do not apply to constitutional carriers. Given how recently constitutional carry went into effect, though, this argument has not been tested in court.
In most instances, this trespass is a Class C Misdemeanor (punishable by a $200 fine only). However, the penalty is heightened to a Class A Misdemeanor (punishable by up to a year in the county jail and a fine up to $4,000, plus court costs) if the license holder was personally given oral notice by a person with apparent authority and fails to depart.
These signs may be seen near schools, and they serve as a warning under state and federal law. Under Tex. Penal Code § 46.11, this sign does not create a new crime but is a good indicator that certain weapons crimes committed by any person in that area (within 300 feet of a school) may have a heightened criminal penalty. Under Texas law, these areas are considered a "weapons-free zone." Under federal law, this sign serves as a warning to non-Texas LTC holders, including constitutional carriers, that it would be a crime to possess a firearm on the grounds of or within 1,000 feet of a school. There are additional exceptions to the federal law that make it a bit more sensible—but for purposes of this article, we are limiting our discussion to handgun licenses issued by the state in which the federal gun-free school zone is located.
Note on signs posted on federal premises or facilities: Generally, a person is prohibited from carrying in or on the premises of federal facilities and property, including VA Hospitals, US Post Offices, parking lots, and grounds. Use extreme caution and take time to learn the law before carrying in one of these locations as it is likely illegal regardless of a person's status as a handgun license or permit holder.
Texas law also prohibits anyone from carrying in several general locations (listed in Tex. Penal Code § 46.03) including schools, polling places on the day of an election and early voting days, courts, racetracks, the secured area of an airport, within 1,000 feet of the premises of an execution, correctional facilities, sporting events, hospitals, and amusement parks.
Recently, the Texas Legislature provided a new option under Tex. Penal Code § 46.15(o) allowing these locations to provide notice of their status as a prohibited location by posting the sign pictured above. If this sign is posted, it removes the availability of a possible defense to prosecution for unintentionally carrying in a prohibited location. Regardless of whether a sign is posted, carrying at these locations is prohibited for both constitutional carriers and LTC holders with very limited exceptions. Generally, this is a 3rd degree felony, although a hospital, nursing facility, or an amusement park is a Class A misdemeanor.
This is a much less frequent sign that only appears on the entrances of nonpublic, secure areas of law enforcement facilities that arises under Tex. Gov't Code § 411.207 and Tex. Code of Crim. Proc. Art. 14.03. Under these provisions, peace officers acting in lawful discharge of their official duties may temporarily disarm a person in the secured portions of a law enforcement facility, provided the facility has a gun locker to store your firearm. Rest assured, though, upon leaving the secured area, the officer must return your weapon to you immediately.
We hope you found this quick refresher helpful; we always want Texas gun owners to stay legal because as we all know, ignorance of the law is not an excuse (or a valid legal defense).
Author: Richard D. Hayes, II
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website does not contain legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Every case is different, and this material is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of, a licensed attorney.