Updated November 27, 2022
tEXAS “NO GUN” SIGN LAW
51%, 30.05, 30.06, 30.07, blue signs, oh my! Because of Texas Constitutional (permitless) Carry, there have been quite a few changes to Texas’ “no gun” sign law.
This means property owners have more options to exclude firearms. And it can be a bit complicated at times.
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.
TEXAS PENAL CODE SECTION 30.05 NO GUN SIGN
The “30.05” sign comes from the newly enacted Firearm Carry Act of 2021. Tex. Penal Code § 30.05(c) gives property owners a new option. This sign provides 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 legal requirement for this sign has been simplified. The standard with this sign is, reasonably likely to come to the attention of the person entering the area. Because this requirement is so broad, we could see various signs develop.
Should a non-license holder choose to disregard these signs, it would be a Class C Misdemeanor. A Class C Misdemeanor, under these circumstances, is 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.
Does 30.05 apply to LTC Holders?
These signs apply to non-license holders; they are not effective against a person carrying under the authority of an LTC. However, these signs may indicate a property owner’s wishes to prohibit firearms.
Remember, you should depart immediately if you are told that firearms are not permitted on the premises by a person with apparent authority. Check out our complete video breakdown. Explained: What is a Texas Penal Code § 30.05 Trespassing Sign?
These “no gun” signs are commonly called “gunbusters.” Previously, this image alone did not carry any force of law. However, we have to remember the broad-sweeping language for the 30.05. 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.
We see this sign outside of grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants. This sign 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. Both LTC holders and constitutional carriers may disregard unless otherwise prohibited from carrying in that location.
This is a 51% sign, meaning the business has a liquor permit or beer license. It also means the business 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 strictly limited circumstances) is a serious felony.
The Penal Code requires the sign to be conspicuously placed. However, we have seen these signs posted on inside walls and behind the bartender, so stay vigilant!
Bad news for permitless Carry
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 mirrors 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. However, we haven’t seen 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 increases to a Class A Misdemeanor if the license holder was personally given oral notice by a person with apparent authority and failed to depart. A Class A Misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in the county jail and a fine of up to $4,000, plus court costs.
These signs 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. These areas are a “weapons-free zone,” under Texas law. 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, federal facilities and property, including VA Hospitals, US Post Offices, parking lots, and grounds, are off-limits. 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 PENAL CODE SECTION 46.03 NO GUN SIGN
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. The posting of this sign removes the availability of a possible defense to prosecution for unintentionally carrying in a prohibited location. Regardless of effective notice, constitutional carriers and LTC holders can’t legally carry at these locations (with limited exceptions). Generally, this is a 3rd degree felony, although a hospital, nursing facility, or amusement park is a Class A misdemeanor.
TEXAS SECURE FACILITY NO GUN SIGN
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). If you have any questions about Texas “no gun” sign law call Walker & Taylor and ask to speak to an attorney.
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.