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State of Safety: Changing Demographics

New Open Carry Law: Should Businesses Opt out?

Oil-producer Chevron is one of several companies that have chosen to opt out of a state’s new gun open-carry law that took effect on Jan. 1, 2016. Which other companies are following suit?
Chevron, the largest employer in downtown Houston, has informed its employees that it’s opting out of the new Texas open-carry law.

According to the Houston Business Journal, the oil company informed its employees that, “based on existing laws and company policy, no firearms (handguns, rifles or shotguns) are permitted inside Chevron office buildings.”
Chevron says its Texas decision “is consistent that no firearms are allowed in any Chevron facility without prior approval from Global Security.”

The new Texas open-carry law allows residents with a concealed handgun license to openly carry a gun in a belt or shoulder holster without a new license or additional training. Open carry is prohibited in some places, including:

  • schools and school buses
  • sporting events
  • anywhere an activity is sponsored by a school
  • polling places during elections
  • courts
  • racetracks
  • secured airport areas, and
  • businesses where alcohol is sold and is 51% or more of revenue for on-premises consumption.

Private employers may prohibit employees and customers from carrying handguns, concealed or open.

The posting requirements for businesses that decide to ban people from carrying on their premises are very specific. Posted signs must be in English and Spanish. The language must appear in contrasting colors with block letters one-inch high and be displayed where they will be clearly visible to the public. For open-carry bans, the signs must be located at each entrance to the property.

The Texas Business Association has expressed concerns with the law’s signage requirements.

Besides Chevron, other businesses that have chosen to ban open-carry at their facilities include some grocery chains, Houston’s Galeria mall, Whataburger and Torchy’s Tacos. The Houston Business Journal says this is “just a few” of the businesses that are opting out of the law.

Laws allowing employees to store guns in their vehicles parked where they work have been controversial.

Before Tennessee enacted such a law, its state OSHA had weighed in on whether guns in vehicles parked at workplace lots are a hazard to employees. Tennessee OSHA had said each case of gun possession in a workplace that served alcohol would be considered on its own merits. The new law took that decision out of the hands of Tennessee OSHA. (Source: SafetyNewsAlert.com)

Fred Hoiser