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Unnecessary hysteria of the New Open Carry, Campus Carry Laws

By Dade Phelan

Over the coming months two major changes to our state’s gun laws will take place. Much like the Conceded Handgun Law (CHL), which has been in effect for over twenty years, the same hand wringing and misinformation is being circulated about the new gun laws from the 84th Legislature. When the CHL bill passed in 1995, the opposition warned of the mass chaos that was certainly coming our way. They insisted we were returning to the days of the wild west with a shootout at the corral around every corner. Of course nothing of sort occurred and to date CHL permit holders are amongst the most law-abiding citizens in Texan.

House Bill 910, which I co-authored, will allow concealed handgun license holders to either carry their holstered handguns concealed or in the open. This change only applies to individuals who posses or obtain a valid CHL license. To be eligible for a concealed handgun license in the state of Texas, citizens must satisfy state and federal criminal background checks, pass both an educational course and a shooting proficiency test, not have any history of mental illness and must be at least 21 years of age.

The same premises restrictions apply for open carry as they do for concealed carry. A permit holder may not carry a firearm:

  • On the premises of a business that derives 51% or more of its income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption,
  • On the premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting or interscholastic event is taking place,
  • On the premises of a correctional facility,
  • On the premises of a hospital or nursing home (unless licensee has written authorization),
  • In an amusement park,
  • On the premises of a church, synagogue, or other place of worship,
  • Or at any meeting of a governmental entity.

This change will not prevent or restrict private businesses from prohibiting licensed individuals from carrying a handgun on their premises. Currently a property or business owner may post a “30.06” sign prohibiting a CHL license holder from bringing a firearm onto their property. This remains in effect and now one may post a “30.07” sign that prohibits open carry as well.

This legislation will take effect on January 1st, 2016.

Senate Bill 11 authorizes a concealed handgun license holder to carry a concealed handgun while on a college campus. Oversight and authority has been given to university presidents allowing them to establish rules, regulations, or other provisions concerning the possession and storage of handguns in dorms or other residential facilities owned or operated by the university.  A recent study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin revealed approximately 1% of their student body population currently hold a CHL license. This law will make our college and university campuses safer by allowing law-abiding faculty, staff and students the ability to protect themselves. Gun free zones offer sanctuary for criminals and turn the innocent into targets.

This law will take effect August 1st, 2016.

It is honor to serve the citizens of Southeast. If I may ever be of assistance please contact me at dade.phelan@house.state.tx.us or 512.463.0706.

God Bless you all and God Bless Texas.

Dade Phelan is Texas House Member Representative for District 21