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New LTC Laws Effective 1 Sep 2019

HB 1078 waives certain driver's license and handgun license fees for certain applicants who hold a certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

If you have a valid CPR certification (and you’re not required to have it for your employment), your driver’s license and License to Carry a handgun fees are waived.

HB 121 provides a defense for License To Carry holders who unknowingly enter establishments that prohibit guns with signage if the LTC holder promptly leaves the property after being asked.

 

When the original CHL statutes were passed, any ‘no guns’ sign would provide severe criminal penalty to any CHL holder who knowingly or unknowingly bypassed one of them.  In 1997, the Texas Legislature passed PC § 30.06 to protect the CHL holders by ensuring the signs were big enough that they could not be inadvertently missed.  Bypassing one of these new signs still held a Class A misdemeanor charge, but at least there was a consistent standard.  Why was this important?  Because if you’re going to have a law that says “if you miss this sign, you could serve jail time”, it had better well be clear and not easy to hide.  Before 30.06, even a small gunbuster sign hidden at the bottom of a glass door at floor level held the threat of jail time, but after 1997, that was eliminated.

In 2015, the legislature took it one further in our favor.  Missing the sign was reduced from a Class A to a Class C misdemeanor.  But remember, PC § 30.06 is more than just about signage, it’s also about all notification.  If a licensed carrier accidentally missed the sign, but then ignored a subsequent oral notification of no carry, the Class A still stood.  Property owner’s rights were still enforced, but the criminal penalty for missing a sign was lessened for over a million license holders.

Fast forward to this year, and now it’s a ‘defense to prosecution’ if you miss the sign and leave promptly after being asked.  Effectively, it has the potential to remove the criminal penalty altogether for accidentally missing the sign.  Oral notification still has the full weight of the 30.06 law.

 

HB 1143 updates the Texas Education Code to prevent school districts from regulating the manner in which a licensed person's handgun, firearm, or ammunition is stored in their vehicle in a school parking area.

Employers have the right to tell their employees “no guns while at work”, but they don’t have the right to tell their employees “don’t even leave your gun in your car”.  Doing so is effectively telling them they can’t carry all day long, whether dropping the kids off at school, picking up groceries on the way home, or simply to have it during their commute. 

There are a few exceptions to this law, and schools have been one of them until now.  An employee of virtually any company around Texas could leave his or her legally carried handgun safely locked in their car while at work, but school employees were forced to leave theirs at home.  Effective this month, that school exception is no longer valid, and LTC holders who happen to work in a school now have the right to keep their handgun locked in their car during the day.

 

SB 535 clarifies the Texas Penal Code to make it clear that places of worship are to be treated the same as other private property when determining whether a license holder may carry on premises. See the bill analysis for context and the author's/sponsor's intent.

This is a big one!  Originally, guns were prohibited in churches by PC § 46.035.  Then, a few years later, a clause got added in the churches were only prohibited if they posted 30.06 signs.  Either way, no big issue, because both PC § 46.035 and PC §30.06 carried Class A misdemeanor charges.  Then, back in 2017, the PC § 30.06 penalty was reduced to Class C (for missing the sign – Class A only if you ignored oral notification).  Suddenly, not all 30.06 signs were created equal!  Most carried a Class C misdemeanor if you accidentally missed them, but the 30.06 sign that you missed at the church carried a Class A.

Now churches have been removed from PC § 46.035.  They may still post a 30.06 sign, but the penalty is the same for them as for any other 30.06 sign in Texas. 

Note:  30.06 signs on amusement parks, hospitals, nursing homes, and government meetings still carry the Class A misdemeanor penalty by default because they are still covered under PC § 46.035

 

HB 302 prohibits residential lease agreements from restricting the possession of firearms by residents or their guests.

Landlords are now not allowed to put ‘no guns’ rules in leasing agreements, protecting the rights of those who live in the properties.

HB 1177 — Prevents citizens from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun without a License To Carry while evacuating from a declared state or local disaster area, or while returning to that area. Also gives disaster shelters the option to accommodate evacuees with firearms.

 

During an evacuation from (or return to) a disaster area, non-license holders are now allowed to carry their handguns. It also permits disaster shelter operators to accommodate these same evacuees.

 

HB 1387 — Loosens restrictions on how many armed school marshals a school district or the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school may appoint.

 

Over 30% of the ISDs in Texas allow some form of legal carry on their school grounds (https://www.kut.org/post/more-30-percent-texas-school-districts-allow-educators-carry-guns).

 

The Texas School Marshall program allows school district to designate specific staff members as Marshalls, allowing them be armed and act as armed peace officers in the absence of law enforcement.  The ratio of students to Marshalls was 200:1 until this month, when the cap was eliminated.  This is extremely valuable to smaller school districts, which allow them to better participate in this program.

 

HB 1791 updates language in the Texas Government Code related to the carrying of firearms on property owned or leased by a government entity.

The previous version of the law was a little more prescriptive, but now broadens the definition of what a government official may not do to unlawfully prevent a licensed carry holder from carrying in a place where it is legal to carry.

 

HB 2363 updates specifications for how foster parents may store their firearms in a foster home.

 

In a foster home, the law stated that firearms and ammunition must be stored separately in locked containers.  The new law allows them to be stored in the same locked container.

 

SB 741 prohibits a property owners association from prohibiting or restricting the possession, transportation, or storage of a firearm or ammunition. Also prohibits restrictions on the lawful discharge of a firearm.

HOAs and POAs in Texas may not put ‘no guns’ rules in their deed restrictions or covenants.

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