OCT to Protest Illegal and Unconstitutional Pole Ordinance that Effectively Bans the Flying of Our State and National Flag

Temple, TX, April 4, 2017– Open Carry Texas (OCT) is dedicated to the preservation of the 2nd amendment protected right to keep and bear arms. We do not just believe in protecting gun rights, but the right to bear all arms.

Houston ordinance Section 28-33 (Carrying clubs, poles, etc., in demonstrations, picket lines, etc.) states that “No person shall carry or possess while participating in any demonstration, rally, picket line or public assembly, any stick, board, pole, stave, rod, plank, pipe, stud, cane, staff, slat, or similar object” unless it is ¼” thick and 2” thick if rectangular or ¾” inch at its thickest point if round. It also mandates that all such poles and staffs be made of “wood, wood products, or other cellulose materials.” This effectively bans most flagpoles.

Recently, several of our members have been ordered by Houston Police Officers to stop carrying their flags because the poles used to proudly fly them aloft and free violate this ordinance. These orders and the ordinance violate both the Texas and United States Flag Code. The United States Code, Chapter 36, which dictates the display and use of the American flag, is very specific that “the flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.” It is nearly impossible to fly a flag aloft without a staff. It goes on to say that it “should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.” Forcing citizens to carry a flag without its staff not only violates federal law, but exposes it to dangers of being easily torn or damaged. A carried flag, as ordered by HPD and the unconstitutional ordinance, does not allow the flag to be “aloft and free.” The Texas Flag Code is nearly identical.

The city claims that this ordinance is necessary because these flags can be used as weapons. We take extreme exception to this narrative; however, since the City is claiming these flags are weapons, we are protesting to defend our right to keep and bear arms while proudly flying our state and national flags. OCT carries flags at nearly every single one of our rallies around the state without issue and we take pride in our patriotism. Many of our members honorably served their nation in combat under these flags. This ordinance is a slap in the face to their service and sacrifice.

On April 7 at noon, OCT and like-minded patriots will rally at Houston Police Department Headquarters in open defiance of this illegal and unconstitutional ordinance. The purpose is to force the City to either recognize our right to fly our flags proudly on whatever staff we see fit or cite us for violating the code. The City will have to choose between enforcing a City ordinance or enforcing state and federal law. The two are not compatible.

OCT has retained legal council to fight this ordinance. If the City won’t do the right thing by repealing this ordinance or ordering its officers to cease enforcement, our courts will have to do it for them.

We implore the City to do the right thing and not risk wasting taxpayer money fighting over an ordinance that is being wrongly interpreted to exclude the flying of our flags. The City should instead focus its limited law enforcement resources on ordinances that actually affect the citizens of Houston and immediately cease imposing nanny state policies that micro-manage every aspect of our lives.

OCT is an organization dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms in the State of Texas in accordance with the United States and Texas Constitutions and applicable laws.

About Open Carry Texas: Our purpose is to 1) educate all Texans about their right to carry in a safe manner; 2) to condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them; 3) encourage our elected officials to pass constitutional carry legislation for all firearms; and 4) foster a cooperative relationship with local law enforcement in the furtherance of these goals with an eye towards preventing negative encounters.

For more information, contact CJ Grisham at cj@opencarrytexas.org 254-383-8238.

Gun Control: an Existential Threat to Western Civilization

Guest Post By Brent Martin

Over the past few decades, Europeans have been extremely critical of Americans refusal to adopt strict gun control laws. Going so far as turning American gun culture and their “silly” 2nd Amendment into a something to be ridiculed and mocked. Unfortunately for Europeans, the joke is now on them. Since the mass influx of refugees into the European continent which began in 2015, Europeans have witnessed all their illusions of security quickly evaporate. The once peaceful cities of western Europe are now subject to skyrocketing crime rates. Women can no longer venture out in public without the ever present threat of rape and acts of terrorism have become commonplace. The right to own a firearm to protect oneself and one’s family is a luxury many Europeans now wished they had. For it has become painfully obvious that their politicians are willing to sacrifice their safety and well-being on the altar multiculturalism.

In 2015 Germany saw a dramatic rise in applications for firearm permits which began shortly after Chancellor Merkel announced that Germany would accept millions of Muslim refugees. Even for those who successfully manage to navigate the arduous process to obtain a firearm permit, they gain little comfort. For in Germany as in all other European nations who still allow for some private ownership of firearms, their use and possessions are strictly limited. For example, all firearms and ammunition legally possessed must be stored separately in locked containers at all times when not in use. “Use” meaning for sporting purposes only (sound familiar) because there exists not inherent legal right to self-defense in any European country. Many citizens throughout Europe have spent time in prison for the mere act of defending themselves or their families with or without a firearm. For example last year a 17-year- old Danish girl who used pepper spray thwart a migrant rapist found herself facing prosecution for possession of an illegal weapon.

Unfortunately for Europeans, this is only going to get worse. Immediately following the terrorist attack in Paris in November of 2015 the European Parliament quickly passed new legislation that further restricts private ownership of firearms. As I write this, the European Union is considering a bill that would implement even more draconian restrictions. The European migrant crisis at present shows no signs of abatement and will likely continue to spiral out of control. The bureaucrats in Europe have successfully disarmed the population of an entire continent and made them easy prey for the violent criminals and terrorists that they continue to import en masse. Sadly for Europeans, the realization that the willful abandonment of the right to bear arms was a tragic mistake, has come far too late.

Our right to bear arms enshrined in our constitution has prevented us from being deprived of the right to bear arms simply by the whims of a single generation. Our Founding Fathers were acutely aware that this need transcended all ages. Because tyranny can take many shapes and forms, it’s not always an oppressive government in command of a massive army set to deprive the citizens of their rights. It can also manifest itself in a government entirely willing to open the gates and allow hordes of barbarians to do the work for them.

Brent Martin was born and raised in Temple, TX. He holds a BA in History/Political Science from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor and Main History from Tarleton State University. He is currently Vice President of Hawkeye Indoor Range/Czerka Arms in Temple, TX

Open Carry Texas Announces Committee Substitute for HB 375

Open Carry Texas has been dedicated to unlicensed, constitutional carry since our founding. Last session, OCT was instrumental in helping to get HB 195 filed, which was nearly identical to the current HB 375 constitutional carry bill. However, HB 375 had some holes and omissions that needed to be fixed, so we worked closely with Representative Jonathan Stickland, Representative Matt Rinaldi, Lonestar Gun Rights, National Association of Gun Rights, and Texas Firearms Freedom to improve the bill. HB 375 will allow anyone not prohibited from owning a firearm to carry that firearm without a license. Currently 13 states have entrusted their citizens to carry a handgun openly or concealed without a license and another 20 states allow unlicensed open carry of a handgun. Texas is one of only 17 states that requires law abiding citizens to obtain a license to carry a handgun in public.

In an effort to provide full disclosure and transparency to our efforts in the legislature, we are ready to publicly release the final version of our committee substitute which we believe makes HB 375 the strongest and most comprehensive constitutional carry bill filed this session.  The committee substitute is available to the public here: 2017 HB 375 Committee Substitute (v1 BWP) (1).

HB 375 is currently scheduled for a hearing in the Homeland Security and Public Safety on March 28, 2017 and we encourage all supporters to arrive early to register for the bill and/or testify.

The Battle of the Lege

By: CJ Grisham, President, Open Carry Texas
I want to urge caution and issue some advice to those willing to listen and understand the fight for constitutional carry. The bottom line is that we want the abolition of all gun laws that are unconstitutional (which is nearly all of them). My intent with writing the previous comparison post was not to attack any bill, but simply to provide a comparison for those who were asking what the difference was between the two and then give my opinion about which one I think is better. In the end, they both further our interests. Now, a reality check:
 
Anyone that whines and complains because the two bills filed are not “real constitutional carry” have absolutely zero understanding of the legislative process and political climate. There are 181 people in the Texas legislature. Of those, 66 are democrats who we’ll get absolutely zero support from. Of the remaining 115 republicans, there are probably a dozen or more that are really democrats in liberal areas, but can’t win on the democrat ticket due to straight ticket voting so they run as republicans. Then, you have the squishy republicans who are big government republicans and not liberty republicans. The number of legislators that are pure constitutionalists in the Texas legislature is probably only in the 20s or 30s at best. Those are the people that support limited government, states’ rights, nullify all federal gun control laws within the state, abolish all gun free zones and limitations to carry, protection from illegal search and seizure, etc.
 
With all that said, think really hard about the likelihood of a pure constitutional carry bill getting passed. Both Stickland and White understand that, which is why neither bill can necessarily be considered “constitutional carry.” So, let’s just call them both what they are – “unlicensed carry” bills.
 
The fact is that whether we like it or not, the kinds of laws that get passed or repealed are entirely dependent on the people we send to Austin. You and I can’t go into a committee and say, “here’s my constitutional carry bill. Let’s have a hearing.” It doesn’t work that way. Richard Briscoe and I (and Terry Holcomb Sr. of Texas Carry) have been beating the hallways looking for support for unlicensed carry. If you think this is a walk in the park try it. Hell, just try talking to your own legislator and see how hard it is to get a commitment from them. The FACT is that both unlicensed carry bills are going to be an uphill battle. Our politicians do NOT want to give up their control and tax money. It isn’t that they support the idea of unlicensed, but they also support milking tax payers for all they can. Unfortunately, the latter usually carrying more weight.
 
So, knowing that they already don’t want to give up control even considering the bills filed, what good does it do to whine, moan, and complain that they aren’t truly “constitutional” carry bills? If we walk out of this capitol in June with unlicensed carry, IT WILL BE HUGE – no matter which bill made it happen. I’m going to push HB 375, but I’m not going to attack HB 1911. I personally have my reservations about both because I’m a constitutionalist, but I also have a rational understanding of the political landscape and what is actually possible.
 
I’m not saying we give up fighting at all. That’s why we are working on amendments to whichever bill gets a hearing (hopefully both). And if each bill gets a hearing, I’m going to testify in favor of both of them. I won’t say that x bill is better than y bill; I’m simply going to say that x bill is great at the x bill hearing and y bill is great at the y bill hearing. Attacking the “other” bill only give politicians and opponents a reason to oppose both. I’ve made clear which one I prefer, but both are MUCH better than what we have now.
 
There is LOT to fix in regards to Texas gun laws. We have had over 140 years of infringements that must be undone. Open Carry Texas and the grassroots movement has only been around for a little less than 4 years. Deep sea divers are always eager to ascend back to civilization, but if they do so too quickly it can be deadly. The nitrogen in the body can’t handle that drastic of a change in pressure in a short amount of time. The legislative body and the general body of the public isn’t much different – whether we like it or not.
 
So, as you’re contacting your representatives to support one of the two unlicensed carry bills, ignore whichever is the other one. Don’t even bring it up. Just tell them to sign on to the bill you support. There’s no need to attack one bill over the other because then those issues can be used against whichever one starts moving – if any. I’m not happy that there are “competing” bills, but it is what it is. We can chop off our nose to spite our face or we can push for more terrain. I will tell you that when 1911 gets a hearing, I’m going to go in there and enthusiastically endorse it. I’m also going to enthusiastically support 375 when it gets a hearing. 
 
In every war, the goal is complete annihilation of the enemy – in this case, unconstitutional gun laws. However, very few wars are won the moment they begin. Terrain is won and lost, but as long as you’re always further ahead than when you started, you’re still winning. I will continue to fight the war, but I also recognize that victory may consist of many battles. As long as we are the ones moving the front line deeper into enemy territory, we have to understand that it isn’t a loss just because the enemy still exists to fight.

A Comparison of HB 375 and HB 1911

1011378_661613437218613_1475924382_n

By: CJ Grisham, President, Open Carry Texas

Today, Representative James White filed HB 1911, his version of an unlicensed carry bill – constitutional carry. Representative Jonathan Stickland’s HB 375 was filed several weeks ago. HB 375 has been heavily influenced and pushed by Open Carry Texas and Lonestar Gun Rights. HB 1911 is a bill heavily influenced and pushed by Texas Carry and the Texas State Rifle Association, the NRA’s state affiliate. While both bills remove the license requirements to keep and bear arms in Texas, there are some glaring problems with HB 1911. In our estimation, HB 375 – while not perfect – is a much stronger constitutional carry bill. In this post, we will explain the differences in the two bills, good and bad.

The most glaring difference between the two bills is how it defines who is “authorized” to carry a handgun in accordance with the constitution. HB 375 is much closer to our constitutional principles by allowing anyone who is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm to legally carry that firearm. This means that under HB 375, those with felony, gun-related, domestic violence or other convictions that prohibit the ownership or possession of a firearm will not be able to carry in Texas without a license (nor with one). HB 1911 only allows “authorized persons” to carry without a license. The bill defines an “authorized person” as a person who meets the requirements under Sections 411.172(a)(1)-(13) of the Government Code.  These requirements are as follows:

  1. Be a legal resident of the state for six months
  2. Be at least 21 years of age
  3. Not a convicted felon
  4. Not be CHARGED with a class A or B misdemeanor, equivalent or higher offense, or an offense of “disorderly conduct” within the past five years which includes
    1. “abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language” that is inciteful
    2. “offensive gestures” that are inciteful
    3. creating, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor in a public place
    4. threatening someone in an offensive manner
    5. unreasonable noises
    6. fighting in public
    7. discharging a firearm in public other than a range
    8. display of a firearm “in a manner calculated to cause alarm”
    9. discharging a firearm on a public road
    10. exposing your anus or genitals in public where someone might be offended or alarmed

In other words, you have no constitutional rights if you are convicted of using bad language or flipping someone the bird. You have no constitutional rights if you create unreasonable noises. And this isn’t just a conviction within the past five years only. A simple arrest means you have no rights, whether or not charges are ever even filed. To be fair, there is no due process in either bill. This simply isn’t addressed. Only two states prevent people convicted of minor, nonviolent “crimes” from carrying a firearm in self-defense – Texas and California. HB 375 fixes this by allowing anyone that is not a prohibited person from carrying. To get a license, one must pass more strict guidelines as noted above. However, the benefit to having more strict guidelines for the licensing is that a license triggers certain extra privileges: skipping the line to enter the capitol, purchasing a firearm from an FFL without going through the BGC, etc.

Critics will argue that if you are convicted of any crime, you are therefore not a law-abiding citizen. However, this mindset ignores several realities of our justice system. The first is that many people are arrested having never committed a crime. These people are charged with all manner of crimes, including felonies, that they didn’t commit. However, as if often the case, citizens can’t always afford for fight for their innocence.

The state can charge you with anything and can afford to fight against you to the ends of the earth with your tax money. The people charged, rightly or wrongly, must pay for their own defense out of their own pockets, unless they qualify for a public defender. Most public defenders are not trial attorneys, but plea bargain attorneys. In order to avoid going bankrupt, many of these innocent people who are charged with felonies are pressured to accept pleas of lesser offenses, like class a or b misdemeanors. In fact, when I was falsely arrested for lawfully carrying a firearm, prosecutors tried to get me to plea to several “lesser” offenses, but each of them no less than a class b misdemeanor.

Many times, defendants are offered probation in exchange for a guilty plea. Prosecutors are re-elected by obtaining as many guilty verdicts as possible and will strongly push for these plea deals while scaring defendants by telling them that if they go to court they face several years in prison. They will be convinced the jury will find them guilty. A recent example of this is the self-defense case of Marcus Weldon up in Detroit. They tried every plea bargain under the sun and prosecutors promised him 30 years in prison if he didn’t accept. He held firm and was eventually acquitted of all felony charges against him. Unfortunately, many people – especially those of lower income – will take these plea deals even if they were completely innocent of any crime because they either can’t afford or think they will be found guilty anyway. HB 1911 does not offer constitutional protection to those people.

HB 375 removes certain places that municipalities are authorized to prevent unlicensed carry. Those places include public parks, political rallies, parades, or official political meetings. HB 1911 does not change a single place that municipalities have the option to ban unlicensed carry.

HB 375 adds a section to Penal Code 46.15 to make clear that licenses aren’t required: “Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a person who is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm shall not be required to obtain any license to carry a handgun as a condition for carrying a handgun.” This is an important addition because it spells out in no uncertain terms what constitutional carry means.

HB 375 finally defines “intoxicated” under conditions upon which an individual commits an offense by tying it to the definition under Penal Code Section 49.01. HB 1911 leaves the confusing and non-defined word “intoxicated” up to interpretation by an officer. Literally, some in law enforcement have interpreted this to mean drinking a single beer or glass of wine at dinner.

HB 375 allows all persons who are not “prohibited” from owning or possessing a firearm to carry on a college campus. HB 1911 maintains the licensing requirement for campus carry.

HB 375 adds in the Dutton/Huffines amendment that codifies the 4th amendment protections of gun owners. It makes clear that “The mere possession or carrying of a handgun, openly or concealed, with or without a license issued under this subchapter, shall not constitute reasonable belief for a peace officer to disarm or detain an otherwise law-abiding person.” This is an important protection for Texans that passed both the House and Senate last session, but was voted down in conference committee due to a minor wording conflict. However, both chambers made clear in the legislative record that law enforcement could not detain gun owners based solely on open carry in passing the open carry bill. Thankfully, most departments recognized that they had no authority to ID open carriers, but a few anecdotal incidents have occurred since open carry became legal.

HB 375 repeals the following laws that are not repealed in HB 1911:

(1)  Section 411.205, Government Code (the requirement to present a license when required to ID);

(2)  Section 46.02(a-1), Penal Code (prohibition against open carry of a handgun in a vehicle);

(3)  Section 46.03(f), Penal Code (removes license only non-defense for entering a prohibited business);

(4)  Sections 46.035 (c) and (d), Penal Code (these sections are moved to Section 46.035(b); and

(5)  Section 46.035(h-1), Penal Code, as added by

Chapter 1222 (H.B. 2300), Acts of the 80th Legislature, Regular

Session, 2007 (this is simplified under HB 375 and only pertains to judges and district attorneys).

There are several sections that both bills omit, though they are different in each bill. HB 1911 is more comprehensive in combing Texas codes and amending them. With the licensing of handguns being mentioned in so many laws, it nearly takes a detective to find all the branches where the legislatures over the years have sought ways to infringe on our rights. HB 375 fixes Sections 411.2032 of the government code, but doesn’t address HB 1911’s fixes to Section 506.001 of the Business and Commerce Code; Section 51.220 of the Education Code, Section 231.302 of the Family Code; Sections 411.190, 411.201, 411.203, 411.206, and 411.209 of the Government Code; Section 12.092 of the Health and Safety Code; Section 42.042 of the Human Resources Code; Section 52.062 of the Labor Code; Section 191.010 of the Local Government Code; and Section 284.001 of the Parks and Wildlife Code. These omissions can be easily fixed through the amendment process in committee.

Both HB 375 and HB 1911 roll unlicensed carry into the 30.06 and 30.07 criminal trespass provisions. If a place has lawfully posted signage under those sections, they would apply to both licensed and unlicensed carriers under each bill.

Both HB 375 and HB 1911 create a confusing and dangerous patchwork of places where gun owners can carry a firearm. Under each bill, it is still a crime to carry a firearm, licensed or not, into a 51% establishment (a business that derives 51% or more of its sales from on-premises alcohol consumption). However, neither bill makes concessions for unlicensed carry at other businesses that sell alcohol for on- or off-premises consumption where on-premises consumption of alcohol constitutes less than 51% of revenue. In other words, places like Wal-Mart, gas stations, liquor stores, sit-down restaurants or movie theaters would be off-limits to unlicensed carry. It would still be legal for carry into those places if the person has a license, however.

In the end, I believe that HB 375 is a much better bill. The problems with it can easily solved with amendments to add the missing sections. There is no reason that non-violent, minor offenses should result in the loss of a fundamental right. HB 1911 creates too many disqualifiers for lawful carry without a license. There are two major factors that we rely on in supporting one bill over another (not that we oppose the other): which bill allows for more lawful carry by more Texans and which bill offers protections for those carrying lawfully. HB 375 does that. We don’t base our decisions on which bill “stands a better chance” by settling for inferiority over constitutional policy. Neither bill is perfect and we will always support any bill that moves in the right direction, but if we’re going to call it constitutional carry, we shouldn’t be preventing people “convicted” of minor offenses – like flipping the bird to someone – from carrying lawfully. Besides California, we are the only state doing that. This is Texas! Let’s act like it!

Attorney General Releases Opinion on Government Property Leased By Non-Profit Entity

Summary: as long as a Non-Profit entity is not contracted to perform a government function, the government entity is not the decision maker over the building, or there is not another government entity inside the building, a Non-Profit that is exclusively leasing government property MAY post notice under 30.06 or 30.07. Here is the text of the decision in response to Erath County Judge Lisa Pence:

 

Dear Ms. Pence:

You explain that in your county “at least two non-profit agencies … have offices located on land owned” by a city. You further explain that those agencies are the only entities located on the specific properties in question, that no governmental offices are located on the properties, and that the city “has no authority as to the operation of the non-profit and all decisions are made by an independent board of directors.”

Given these facts you ask whether handguns may be prohibited by a nonprofit entity when the entity’s offices are located on property owned by a city or governmental entity. You base your questions on section 411.209 of the Government Code and sections 30.06 and 30.07 of the Penal Code, and we will address each of these provisions in tum.

The Eighty-fourth Legislature enacted section 411.209 of the Government Code, which prohibits state agencies and political subdivisions from providing notice that a licensed handgun carrier is prohibited from entry to a location other than those articulated in the Penal Code:

A state agency or a political subdivision of the state may not provide notice by a communication described by Section 30.06, Penal Code, or by any sign expressly· referring to that law or to a concealed handgun license, that a license holder carrying a handgun under the authority of this subchapter is prohibited from entering or remaining
on a premises or other place owned or leased by the governmental entity unless license holders are prohibited from carrying a handgun on the premises or other place by Section 46.03 or 46.035, Penal Code.

TEX. Gov’T CODE§ 411.209(a). A state agency or political subdivision found in violation of this provision is ‘liable for a civil penalty administered by the attorney general. Id. § 41 l .209(b )-(h).
Relevant to your request, the prohibition in subsection 41 l.209(a) applies only to “a state agency or political subdivision of the state.” Id. § 41 l.209(a). Section 411.209 does not address whether a private entity, including an independent nonprofit entity, may provide notice to license holders that the carrying of handguns is prohibited in its offices. If a private entity is operating jointly with a governmental entity or has been hired by the governmental entity to perform certain governmental functions, fact questions could arise about which entity effectively posted a notice prohibiting the carrying of guns. However, under the facts you describe, the private, nonprofit
entity appears to have an arms-length agreement to lease city property and is not otherwise affiliated with the city. See Request Letter at 1. “As a general rule, a lessor relinquishes possession
or occupancy of the premises to the lessee.” Levesque v. Wilkens, 57 S.W.3d 499, 504 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2001, no pet.). In such circumstances, section 411.209 does not apply to a city that leases property to a nonprofit entity that provides notice that a license holder carrying a handgun is prohibited from entry. As long as the state agency or political subdivision leasing the property to the nonprofit entity has no control over the decision to post such notice, the state agency or political subdivision lessor would not be the entity responsible for the posting and would
therefore not be subject to a civil penalty under section 411.209. See TEX. Gov’T CODE § 41 l.209(a).
Whether sections 30.06 and 30.07 of the Penal Code make it an offense for a person carrying a handgun to enter property leased by a nonprofit entity from a state agency or political
subdivision is a separate question. See Request Letter at 1. Subsections 30.06(a) and 30.07(a) make it an offense for a license holder to carry a handgun, either concealed or openly, “on property of another without effective consent,” when the license holder “received notice that entry on the property by a license holder … was forbidden.” TEX. PENAL CODE §§ 30.06(a), .07(a). Subsections 30.06(e) and 30.07(e) create exceptions to the application of those sections if “the property on which the license holder … carries a handgun is owned or leased by a governmental entity and is not a premises or other place on which the license holder is prohibited from carrying the handgun under Section 46.03 or 46.035.” Id.§ 30.06(e); see id.§ 30.07(e). We must therefore determine whether these exceptions to the offenses apply to property that is owned by a governmental entity but leased to a private, nonprofit organization.

When the Legislature enacted subsection 30.06(e), its stated focus was on local
governmental entities that were prohibiting concealed handguns from public places. See House Research Org., Bill Analysis, Tex. S.B. 501, 78th Leg., R.S. (May 9, 2003) at 4 (“A city’s ban on
concealed handguns in public buildings could make it needlessly difficult for a person lawfully carrying a concealed handgun to perform necessary tasks such as paying a utility bill or renewing
a car registration.”). Nothing in the text of the statute itself nor in the legislative history suggests that the Legislature considered whether private entities that leased property from a governmental
entity were required to allow the carrying of handguns on the property that they lease. The fact that the Legislature created a civil penalty in section 411.209 of the Government Code only for state agencies and political subdivisions provides some contextual support for the idea that the Legislature may not have intended to require private lessees of governmental property to allow handguns on that property. See TEX. Gov’T CODE§ 41 l.209(a).

Nevertheless, when construing statutes, courts recognize that the words the Legislature chooses are “the surest guide to legislative intent.” Fitzgerald v. Advanced Spine Fixation Sys., Inc., 996 S.W.2d 864, 866 (Tex. 1999). When possible, courts will discern legislative intent from the plain meaning of the words chosen, and only when words are ambiguous will courts “resort to rules of construction or extrinsic aids.” Entergy Gulf States, Inc., 282 S.W.3d 433, 437 (Tex. 2009). The plain language of subsections 30.06(e) and 30.07(e) make an exception ifthe property on which the license holder carries a gun “is owned or leased by a governmental entity.” TEX.
PENAL CODE§§ 30.06(e), .07(e). These statutes make no exception to that exception for property owned by a governmental entity but leased to a private entity, and to conclude that carrying a handgun on such property is prohibited would therefore require reading language into the statute beyond what the Legislature included. See Entergy Gulf States, Inc., 282 S.W.3d at 443 (noting that courts “refrain from rewriting text that lawmakers chose”). Thus, a court would likely conclude that a license holder carrying a handgun on property that is not a premises or other place from which the license holder is prohibited from carrying under sections 46.03 or 46.035 of the Penal Code and that is owned by a governmental entity but leased to a private entity is excepted
from the offenses in 30.06(a) and 30.07(a)

Open Carry Texas statement following dallas shooting

Temple, TX, July 11, 2016 – In light of the abhorrent tragedy that occurred in Dallas last week, we would like to address the current push to change or abolish our right to keep and bear arms. It goes without saying that our condolences are with the families and victims. Since Texas became an independent nation in 1836, the right to bear long arms has been a lawful act. This is nothing new and has nothing to do with the recently passed handgun open carry law. To suggest that open carry had any role in the shooting, the response, or the aftermath is unsupported by the facts and is both wrong and deplorable.

The fact is that there is ample evidence on social media that law enforcement was not confused during the shooting about who was a good guy and who was a bad guy with a gun. Video evidence is clear that officers felt quite at ease during the incident in the presence of open carriers. Once an individual was identified, he promptly turned himself in to assure the public that he wasn’t a threat. We applaud his actions, but condemn Dallas PD for continuing to hold his lawfully possessed firearm even after clearing him.

In light of this incident, Open Carry Texas (OCT) has several suggestions for both law enforcement and open carriers should a similar, highly unlikely event ever occur again.

We applaud law enforcement for the professional and competent manner in which they quickly identified the source of the mayhem and their bravery in confronting it. We reject the notion, as posited in the media by the Chief and Mayor, that officers aren’t intelligent enough to tell the difference between a “good guy and a bad guy.” What is the difference between law enforcement treating the public this way and the public asking how they are supposed to tell the difference between a “good cop and a bad cop.” Both are offensive to hear, but both are equally accurate. It’s a simple concept to tell the difference: the good guys are shooting in the same direction as law enforcement (or not at all) and the bad guys are shooting at them. The good guy responds to police orders. The bad guy does not. Over the past three years, OCT has had numerous encounters with law enforcement around the state, from big cities to small rural towns. These officers have demonstrated time and time again the ability to tell the difference. If Soldiers in combat can do it successfully, we have full faith and confidence that law enforcement officers can as well.

Even suggesting that open carry played a factor, this is attributed to how some in law enforcement view a law abiding citizenry. All too often, we are viewed as a threat or the enemy. There is a perception that only law enforcement should be allowed to carry a weapon in public. This creates animosity and distrust between the law enforcement and gun rights communities. This must change. Law enforcement departments must experience a paradigm shift in their mentality and accept gun owners as an ally, not an adversary. Throughout history, there are stories of law abiding citizens helping law enforcement suppress a threats and having their back. We call on law enforcement to return to this model. There is not an infinite number of police in this country and working with the citizenry instead of against them only results in safer communities. They must stop viewing law abiding citizens with a firearm as suspects.

We applaud Mark Hughes for immediately making himself available to law enforcement as soon as he found out he was considered a suspect. While he disagree with his decision to voluntarily surrender his firearm and DPD keeping his firearm, we praise his good judgment in defusing what could have been a deadly situation. We would like to offer a few suggestions for open carriers in these instances.

First, if carrying a handgun, keep it in a holster and keep your hands off of it unless needed. If you are carrying a long arm, rifle or shotgun, carry it in a non-threatening manner. We suggest carrying it on a single point sling to the side or on your back. This more easily puts people nearby at greater ease.

Second, if you find yourself in the vicinity of an active shooter and your life is not in danger, do not get involved, if possible. Obviously, society is filled with veterans and others whose personal values and honor require that they run towards gun shots instead of against them, but make sure you understand the risks in doing so and are cognizant of those around you. Coordinate with law enforcement if at all possible and obey orders from law enforcement officers.

Third, if your life is in immediate danger, defend yourself with judicious marksmanship. The risk at that point of being shot by law enforcement is no different than the risk of being shot by an active shooter. Once the threat is neutralized, immediately go back to a non-threatening posture by either holstering your weapon if you have a handgun or placing it on your back if you have a rifle. If/when law enforcement arrives, it is a good idea to work with them as they survey the area to ascertain what happened and who is at fault. However, it is important to realize that if you are taken into custody as a potential suspect, it may be a good idea to stop talking and contact your attorney. We encourage our members and all gun owners to obtain gun owner legal protection – like SelfDefenseFund.com or Firearm Legal Protection – so they are protected under such circumstances.

OCT is an organization dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms in the State of Texas in accordance with the United States and Texas Constitution and applicable laws.

About Open Carry Texas: Our purpose is to 1) educate all Texans about their right to carry in a safe manner; 2) to condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them; 3) encourage our elected officials to pass constitutional carry legislation for all firearms; and 4) foster a cooperative relationship with local law enforcement in the furtherance of these goals with an eye towards preventing negative encounters.