Rio Texas Churches and the new Texas Open Carry Handgun Law
Beginning January 1, 2016, people with concealed carry permits will be allowed to openly carry handguns in Texas. A number of churches have asked what churches could and should do in light of this change in the law.
The Rio Texas Annual Conference has no official policy on the concealed or open carry of handguns in churches. Churches may decide, on their own, what if any policies they wish to enact regarding handguns. The following information is provided to assist churches in researching appropriate signage to legally communicate policy. This is provided for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Because this is a new law and it has not yet gone into effect our insurer, Church Mutual, recommends that each church confer with local law enforcement and/or legal counsel for further information.
For churches electing to prohibit open or concealed firearms on the premises, notice must be given. For the purpose of this notification, "a person receives notice if the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner provides notice to the person by oral or written communication." (Texas Penal Code 30.06(b) and 30.07(b))
"Written communication" means:
A card or other document on which is written language identified below.
A sign posted on the property that includes the language below and is:
1. In English and Spanish
2. In contrasting block letters at least one inch in height
3. Displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public at each entrance to the property .
Whether it is a written notice or sign, it must include all the following language:
"Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with [of license to carry] a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code ([concealed] handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun."
“Conforme a la Sección 30.06 del Código Penal (traspasar portando armas de fuego con licencia) personas con licensia bajo del Sub-Capitulo H, Capitulo 411, Codigo del Gobierno (ley de portar armas), no deben entrar a esta propiedad portando un arma de fuego.”
"Pursuant to Section 30.07, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with an openly carried handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a handgun that is carried openly";
“Conforme a la Sección 30.07 del Código Penal (traspasar portando armas de fuego al aire libre con licencia) personas con licencia bajo del Sub-Capitulo H, Capitulo 411, Codigo de Gobierno (ley de portar armas), no deben entrar a esta propiedad portando un arma de fuego al aire libre.”
A number of sign companies are already offering pre-printed signs. Check with your local sign shops or do an internet search for "Texas 30.06 and 30.07 signs."