DeSoto, TX - DeSoto Police Chief Joe Costa and City Attorney Joe Gorfida discussed the implications of the Texas Open Carry Law at a recent Town Hall Meeting. Here are the main topics discussed:
The current law allows citizens to openly carry rifles and shotguns, but not handguns. A Concealed Handgun License (CHL) is not needed to do this. However, it must be done in a manner not “calculated” to cause alarm; meaning carrying the rifle to purposely intimidate or scare people. Starting January 1, 2016, citizens with a CHL will be permitted to now carry openly in Texas, per House Bill 910 of the 2015, 84th Legislative Session. Non‐Texans from states whose permits are also recognized by Texas will be allowed to open carry under the new law as well. The new law 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. Open carry refers to the act of carrying a handgun (generally) that is in plain view in a holster. There is no concealment garment such as a t‐shirt or vest that is covering the firearm. Unconcealed handguns, loaded or unloaded, must be carried in a shoulder or belt holster.
Open carry is still prohibited in city and government buildings where a city meeting is taking place. The new law, however, limits the scope of the governmental meeting prohibition by restricting it to the specific room or rooms in which the meeting is being held, and to public meetings for which notice is required under the Open Meetings Act. A sign must be visible outside of the room in which the meeting is taking place.
Beginning August 1, 2016, institutions of higher education and private/independent schools have the ability to allow a concealed handgun on campus. (SB 11). Open carrying of handguns is still prohibited at these locations. Citizens will be able to carry a concealed handgun but they cannot open carry on college campuses.
Business owners and employers will still have the authority to ban weapons on their property and work place using the proper legal signage. In places of worship, pastors or the heads of churches have the authority to ban handguns or allow them on the premises.
The full presentation from the meeting is posted on the Police tab at www.desototexas.gov. If you have questions regarding Open Carry, please call the DeSoto Police Department at 469‐658‐3000.