At a time when gun violence is increasing across the country, and based on publicly available data, Texas currently ranks second in the nation (behind Illinois) in mass shootings for 2021, the Texas Legislature enacted the Firearm Carry Act of 2021.
Here’s what Texas employers need to know:
1. The effective date of the new law is September 1, 2021.
2. The law applies to persons 21 years of age or older and not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm, and to those 18 years or older in the military.
3. Persons who meet the criteria in #2 above will be able to carry a firearm without a government issued license or permit, which means they will not be required to take gun safety and handling courses as a prerequisite to carrying.
4. The law does not prohibit an employer from prohibiting an employee who lawfully carries without a permit from possessing the firearm on the employer’s premises.
5. An employer must follow the posting requirements to prevent employees from carrying without a permit on the employer’s premises.
6. It is a Class C misdemeanor for an individual to carry a firearm into a business if he has oral or written notice that such action is prohibited.
7. The law does not change the “guns allowed in the employer’s parking lot” law.
8. The law does not change the places where individuals are prohibited from carrying, including bars and amusement parks.
9. An employee who lawfully carries without a license commits an offense if he carries a handgun and intentionally displays it (i.e., brandishes it) in plain view of another person in a public place, although it is a recognized exception if the gun is partially or wholly visible in a holster.
10. Employers that want to prohibit firearms on their premises should follow the posting requirements.
Additionally, now is a good time to ensure that Active Shooter policies and protocols are reviewed and updated, if necessary.