If you're not exactly jazzed about the thought of patients carrying handguns into your medical practice, you can do something to prevent it.
House Bill 910 by Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016, and it allows Texans with handgun licenses to openly carry their handguns in a hip or shoulder holster. TMA has received questions regarding whether physicians can post a notice at their practices prohibiting anyone from entering with a handgun — concealed or openly. The answer depends on the type of property the medical office is located on. Generally, a private property owner may post a notice prohibiting the carrying of handguns, but HB 910 contains many requirements. TMA's white paper, "Prohibiting Concealed or Open Carry Handguns on Private Property," has more information for physicians.
HB 910 generally authorizes the open carry of handguns (in a shoulder or belt holster) in Texas by anyone with a handgun license. There are exceptions to this — found in Texas Penal Code §46.03 and 46.035 — including schools, school vehicles, polling places, courts, racetracks, airports, bars, sporting events, amusement parks, churches, nursing homes, and most hospitals (if the hospital or nursing home has given effective notice under Texas Penal Code §30.06 or 30.07).
Private property owners may also prohibit the open carry of handguns orally, with a card or other document, or by posting a sign that reads "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" in both English and Spanish in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height, clearly visible to the public at entrances to the property.
Also, on Jan. 1, 2016, the language for a sign prohibiting people from carrying a concealed handgun changes. As of that date, the sign must say, "Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun."
Please note: Section 30.07 of the Penal Code relating to the open carry of handguns requires a sign "at each entrance to the property," while Section 30.06 relating to the concealed carry of handguns only requires a sign "displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public."
A common question is whether private property owners will need two signs to cover both the concealed and open carry of handguns, or if one will suffice. The law indicates the language required by the Penal Code may not be altered or combined into one paragraph or sentence. The language must be identical to that in the statute for a private property owner to rely on it as the means for providing notice to handgun license holders.
Action, Jan. 5, 2016
(Updated Jan. 7, 2016)