Local businesses split on ‘Open Carry’
By LPR Staff
As the gun control debate heats up across the country, Texans are adjusting to the new laws that allow for “open carry” of handguns on certain premises throughout the state.
Under House Bill 910, approved by the Texas Legislature during the 84th session, licensed owners may openly display their holstered handguns in any area where ??
?concealed carry” was legal. What used to be known as a “concealed handgun license” (CHL) is now simply “a handgun license.”
“This is Texas,” said Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel Law. “We pretty much operate under the assumption that everyone has a gun, anyway. We haven’t seen anyone really jumping out there to open carry.”
Law reminded citizens that, in general, those who hold handgun licenses are trained, law-abiding citizens who have taken the time to be educated and carry their guns legally.
“The ones that we have problems with, of course, are the ones that don’t care about the laws anyway, and aren’t carrying their handguns legally,” he said.
Caldwell County will not restrict the carrying of handguns on county property, except in the Caldwell County Courthouse and the Caldwell County Justice Center, standard practice, Law said, in counties across the state.
During a brief business meeting on Tuesday night, the Lockhart City Council voted to prohibit open carry by City employees. Additionally, according to City Manager Vance Rodgers, open carry will be restricted in meeting rooms while meetings are being held, as well as at the Municipal Court.
Local businesses, however, have the option to permit or refuse the open carry of firearms in their establishments. Presently, research shows only one local restaurant, Mr. Taco, to have taken a stance regarding open carry.
Businesses that wish to prohibit open carry, including churches, must post signs at each entrance, notifying the public of their intentions under the open carry and concealed carry laws.
Two local banks, Austin Telco Federal Credit Union and Bank of the Ozarks, have chosen to post signs prohibiting both open and concealed carry. At press time, neither First Lockhart National Bank nor Sage Bank prohibited open carry on their premises.
While the new law requires changes to the existing “concealed carry” courses, those Texans who currently possess a CHL will not need to retake their courses. However, to carry a handgun either openly, or concealed, Texas residents must take the certification course and be licensed by the state.
It remains legal, in the State of Texas, to carry a “long gun” openly, at any time.