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Myth and Reality of Self-Defense Law in Texas

November 16, 2014

Some states believe in big government.  These states regulate and weaken their citizens.  We think of the north east and the “Left Coast” as prime examples.  Their reputation has some basis in fact.  In contrast, some states say they trust their citizens.  They say they believe in freedom and responsibility.  Talk is cheap.. and sometimes reputations are misleading.  Texas has some terrible gun laws.  The right of armed self-defense suffers where there is one party rule, be they Republicans or Democrats.  Here are the simple examples, the low hanging fruit, where Texas gun laws can easily improve if the Republicans step up.

Sure, Texas has a Hollywood reputation of self-reliance and self-defense.  That is what we learned from the old black-and-white westerns.  Unfortunately Hollywood movies are not real despite what you see on your smart phone.  Much of what we believe about Texas is a myth.  In contrast, the states of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois and California are known for their anti-gun bigotry.  Let’s see how the states compare.

Let me lay down my cards and show you my evidence.  The free state of Texas might let you carry a concealed firearm at your place of business.  I said they might.  You can conceal the tools of armed self-defense in Texas.. unless your business is to heal the sick or heal the soul.  Texas concealed carry law effectively prohibits trained and licensed concealed carry holders from carrying in hospitals, in nursing homes, and in churches.  Hospitals are required to post signs prohibiting carry.  Churches may exclude concealed carriers with a sign.  Unfortunately, the type of sign is not defined in law or court cases.  Most concealed carriers won’t carry at church so they can avoid the legal problems that can come from a brush with the law.

Now let’s look at the anti-gun states.  Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and California do not prohibit concealed carry in churches or hospitals.  Illinois prohibits concealed carry in hospitals but it does not prohibit carry in churches.  In short, other states have better laws for some aspects of concealed carry.  So much for the myth of the shining lone star state!

Some states prohibit firearms and then allow exceptions.  That means gun owners are guilty until proven innocent. New Jersey is a prime example.  Texas does the same thing when it outlaws sound suppressors on firearms.  Texas law then says the state won’t convict you if you can prove you purchased these items legally.  Did you know it is illegal for a Texas gun store to show sign of a handgun in their shop window?  Unfortunately, law abiding Texas gun owners have been arrested and prosecuted under these laws.  All it takes is an anti-gun prosecutor, and they exist.. even in Texas.  A few corrupt government officials are with us everywhere.

What kind of weak kneed Texas legislator signed on to those restrictions and why haven’t they been fixed in all these years?  Today, Republicans outnumber Democrats almost two to one in the Texas legislature.  The Republican majority in Texas didn’t start last week.  Republicans have outnumbered Democrats in the Texas legislature since 1999.  Texas Republicans can’t find the votes to free honest Texas gun owners from the threat of prosecution despite the long Republican tenure as the majority party.

Firearms owners have grown used to abuse in New Jersey and California.  They should expect better in Texas.  I want Texas to shine as a beacon of freedom.  Unfortunately, the mantle is a little dirty.  Those are the facts.

It is time for Texas gun owners to visit their legislators until Texas lives up to its reputation.

 

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2014 9:22 am

    Churches and hospitals tend to think of their missions as being a sanctuary. In many ways, we all think of our place of business this way. But sanctuary is a spiritual concept and not one of protection especially any more than any other real estate is, including our military bases. The sanctuary’s strength is in its being respected by all as … sacrosanct. Sanctuary, retreat and respite are a good idea, but it is far more real in the mind and heart than in a building of any sort.

    Having said that, it’s time to realize that violence by aggressors will go where it will, even pursue, and and protection is never guaranteed; this is because it denies the citizen the means of stopping aggression with authority; it is to give sanctuary to the aggressor and nothing even close to it for the target of violence.

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  2. Aaron Heath permalink
    November 16, 2014 5:42 pm

    I posted the following comment to the ammoland version of your article:

    Texas Penal Code 46.035(b) does place those locations off limits. However 46.035(i) requires that notice be provided under Texas Penal Code Section 30.06 for that prohibition to actually exist. The 51% sign Hospitals are required to post does not meet that qualification. Additionally the signage required to give notice under TPC 30.06 is very specific and very well defined by law. The article is only propagating myths, not dispelling them.

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    • November 17, 2014 6:38 am

      .. and then there’s the significance of the signage at all in the intent of the institutions posting them; they don’t get it. They don’t get it at all.

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  3. November 16, 2014 10:24 pm

    Aaron, can you cite case law supporting your interpretation of permissible signs at churches?

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  4. Aaron Heath permalink
    November 17, 2014 7:33 am

    No need to cite case law, I can cite codified law(for the record there actually is no known case law).

    The prohibition reads as follows (Snipped out the parts we are not discussing):
    46.035(b) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, on or about the license holder’s person:
    46.035(b)(4) on the premises of a hospital licensed under Chapter 241, Health and Safety Code, or on the premises of a nursing home licensed under Chapter 242, Health and Safety Code, unless the license holder has written authorization of the hospital or nursing home administration, as appropriate;
    46.035(b)(5) in an amusement park; or
    46.035(b)(6) on the premises of a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship.
    46.035(c) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, at any meeting of a governmental entity.

    The requirement for Notice follows:
    46.035(i) Subsections (b)(4), (b)(5), (b)(6), and (c) do not apply if the actor was not given effective notice under Section 30.06.

    The requirement for the signage can be found, oddly enough, in Texas Penal Code Section 30.06 (Note that written or verbal notice can be given, but written notice must meet specific language requirements like the sign):

    30.06(c)(3)(A) a card or other document on which is written language identical to the following: “Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun”; or

    30.06(c)(3)(B) a sign posted on the property that:
    (i) includes the language described by Paragraph (A) in both English and Spanish;
    (ii) appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
    (iii) is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.

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  5. annoyedman permalink
    November 17, 2014 9:25 am

    In support of Aaron Heath, he’s dead right on. I, and lots of my friends, totally legally carry in church because our churches have not either posted a compliant 30.06 sign, or give us verbal notice not to. By the way, THIS is the way the law has been interpreted by those in authority ever since 46.035(i) was added into the law. The reason there is no case law? Because there are no cases. The reason there are no cases? Because nobody goes to trial for carrying into a church. The reason nobody goes to trial for carrying into a church? Because most churches do not post 30.06, and therefore, nobody is breaking the law.

    Asking someone to provide case law for something where there is no case law is like asking that person to prove a negative. It’s an illogical request. But the reason for why there is no case law is easily explained and understandable.

    Hope that helps.

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  6. annoyedman permalink
    November 17, 2014 9:32 am

    I would add another thing…. churches tend to be led and attended by conservative people who are more likely to support gun rights as a general thing. Hospitals – because it is the healthcare industry – are more likely to be led by and employ liberal people, who are less likely to respect gun rights.

    I once worked in an major hospital ER for 5 years, and I can tell you that the vast majority of people who worked there thought that guns are evil.

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    • November 18, 2014 7:02 am

      Have to concur with that, Annoyedman. It’s quite true that the staffing is leftist on a variety of ideas.

      Like

  7. November 19, 2014 3:12 pm

    Comparing New Jersey with Texas …….regarding the right to keep and bear arms is a pretty precarious undertaking. Texas gun laws are generally pretty reasonable. Obtaining a Texas concealed handgun license is not onerous….or expensive. As far as the carry restrictions on handguns…stay tuned. It’s fixin’ to get better.

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  1. Episode 285 – Joe Chetwood and George Hill | The Polite Society Podcast

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