License to Carry 2019 Legislative Updates

Starting September 1st, 2019, new laws impacting Texas License to Carry holders went into affect. This was the 86th Texas Legislative Session. It is every LTC holders responsibility to stay up to date on new laws that are passed. All of the new laws passed this legislative session seem to benefit LTC holders. Nothing is drastically different, but they add some needed clarity and defense to prosecutions for certain offenses. Below the new updates will be listed along with an interpretation of them. This is opinion and is NOT legal advice and shall not be taken as legal advice.

House Bill 121

  • Adds a defense to prosecution for the offense of trespass by certain persons carrying handguns. Amends Penal Code 30.06 and 30.07 by providing license holders with a defense to prosecution when the license holder was personally given notice by oral communication and promptly departed from the property.

Interpretation: Before the update, simply being on the premise that has the 30.06 or 30.07 sign posted was a class C offense for criminal trespass by a license holder.  It appears that the intent of this law is to remove the class C offense. To be clear, the class C offense is not actually removed. The license holder should be given oral notice to depart the premise before being ticketed or arrested for the class C misdemeanor. If the license holder still fails to leave, just as before, the offense is enhanced to a class A misdemeanor. This should calm peoples fears that are very nervous about carrying where they are not supposed to be. This does not change anything with the 51% signs. Those are still prohibited locations and is a 3rd degree felony offense.

House Bill 302

  • Carrying, storage, or possession of a firearm or firearm ammunition by certain persons on certain residential or commercial property.
  • This prohibits landlords from restricting tenants and their guests from possessing firearms and ammunition, unless possession on a landlord’s property is prohibited by state or federal law.
  • Amends Penal Code 30.05, 30.06, and 30.07 by providing license holders with a defense to prosecution for individuals who are the owners, tenants, or guests.

Interpretation: Before the update, landlords would could write into lease agreements restrictions on firearms and/or ammunition. The court of criminal appeals has already ruled that this cannot be done, state law now reflects it. This is only in effect for new leases after Sept 1, 2019. It does not affect prior lease agreements.

House Bill 1143

  • Transportation or storage of a handgun or other firearm or ammunition by a handgun license holder in a school parking area.
  • Prohibits school districts or open-enrollment charter schools from regulating the manner in which a handgun, firearm, or ammunition is stored in a locked, privately owned or leased motor vehicle that is in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area provided by the district or charter school.

Interpretation: Schools can no longer regulate how guns and ammunition are stored in a vehicle for LTC holders. The intent of this was for teachers with an LTC. In the past, the school could require them to park of campus. After this update, as long as you have an LTC and the firearm and ammunition are not in plain view, the school cannot tell you how to store it in the vehicle.

House Bill 1177

  • Carrying a weapon during a state of disaster.
  • Amends Penal Code 46.15 by removing the provisions for unlawful carrying of a handgun if the person is not prohibited from possessing a firearm and is evacuating from or reentering to an area subject to mandatory evacuation during a natural disaster.
  • Provides that certain places where the carrying of a handgun is prohibited does not apply in situations where the premises is operating as an emergency shelter during a state of disaster and the owner, controller, operator, or person of apparent authority authorized the carrying of a handgun in the shelter.

House Bill 1791

  • Carrying of handguns by license holders on property owned or leased by a government entity.
  • Provides that a state agency or political subdivision of this state may not take any action to prohibit a License to Carry (LTC) holder from the lawful carrying of a handgun on the premises or other place owned or leased by that governmental authority.
  • Makes minor changes to existing law governing the complaint process for license holders to file with the Texas Attorney General’s Office against governmental entities as it relates to this law.

Interpretation: This one is self-explanatory. A state agency or political subdivision, such as a city or county, cannot prohibit LTC holders from carrying on the city or county property. An example of this is the City of Austin attempting to prevent people from carrying at the Austin Airport and City Hall.

House Bill 535

  • Carrying of a handgun by a license holder on the premises of certain places of religious worship.
  • Amends Penal Code §46.035 to remove the prohibition against carrying in a church, synagogue or other established place of religious worship.
  • A place of religious worship may still post notice under Penal Code 30.06 or 30.07 prohibiting the concealed and/or openly carrying of a handgun on the premise.

Interpretation: It was already made legal to carry in a church, synagogue or other place of religious worship. However, the prohibition was never actually removed from 46.035(b)(6). This update removes 46.035(b)(6) in an attempt to make the language in Penal Code clearer. So in the end, nothing changes with the one, it was just simply to make Penal Code easier to read.

House Bill 446

  • Revisions to Unlawful Carry of a Weapon
  • Amends Penal Code 46.02 and 46.05 to remove club and knuckles from unlawful carrying of a weapon.
  • Clubs and knuckles still fall under section 46.03, Places Weapons Prohibited.

Interpretation: Self-explanatory. Clubs and knuckles can be carried anywhere other than places weapons are prohibited in 46.03.

House Bill 3231

  • Regulation of firearms, air guns, knives, ammunition, or firearm or air gun supplies or accessories by a county or municipality.
  • Section 229.001 Local Government Code was amended to state that a municipality may not adopt regulations relating to restrictions on carrying of firearms.

Interpretation: A city or county cannot create ordinances that restrict carry of a firearm in public.

Senate Bill 741

  • HOA authority to restrict firearms
  • Chapter 202 or property code was amended by adding section 202.020. This states that a property owners association may not prohibit or restrict any person who is otherwise authorized from lawfully possessing, transporting, or storing a firearm, any part of a firearm, or firearm ammunition, as well as otherwise lawful discharge of a firearm.

Interpretation: HOA cannot restrict the lawful possession of firearms in a community.

House Bill 1078

  • Related to waiving certain fees for applicants who have a CPR certification.
  • Chapter 411 Government Code was amended to add that the License to Carry application and/or renewal fees shall be waived if at the time of application, the applicant for the license holds a current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation issued by the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or another nationally recognized association. The applicant must not be required to hold the CPR certification as a condition of the employment or occupational license.

Interpretation: If you are applying for a new or renewal LTC and you are CPR certified, your fees will be waived. Your CPR certification just cannot be required for your employment and must be from a nationally recognized association.

Again, none of this is legal advice. Read the laws for yourself and form your own opinion on what they mean. 2019 legislative updates will also be added to the online Texas License to Carry class.