The start to a new year brings new laws, including one that makes Texas the 45th state to allow the open carrying of a handgun.
While Texans with proper licensing can now legally carry an unconcealed handgun in a waist or shoulder holster, they still have to pay attention to their location before heading out in public.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety website, open carry is not allowed in certain places including on university campuses or in courtrooms.
Businesses can also decide whether to prohibit or allow open carry in their stores. If a business wants to prohibit openly carried handguns, there are certain requirements they have to meet before being allowed to do so.
Chapter 30.07 of the Texas Penal Code spells out what a business must do in order to prohibit an openly carried handgun in its establishment. They must post a sign at any entrance to the building that states a person may not enter the property with a gun that is openly carried. That message must also be posted in contrasting colors using block letters at least an inch tall in both English and Spanish, according to the code.
They can also prohibit handguns that are concealed; however, they must post a second sign that specifically prohibits concealed carry.
Kroger’s policy is to allow customers to carry openly in its stores while asking customers “to be respectful of others while shopping.”
“Millions of customers are present in our busy grocery stores every day and we don’t want to put our associates in a position of having to confront a customer who is legally carrying a gun,” Kroger’s policy states. “We know that our customers are passionate on both sides of this issue and we trust them to be responsible in our stores.”
Not all businesses feel the same as Kroger, however. A representative from Fuzzy’s Taco Shop said they plan to continue allowing concealed carry throughout their 80 locations but will not permit open carry in their restaurants after surveying guests who came into Fuzzy’s.
“We are still supporting concealed carry, but we’re not going to allow open carry in the restaurants,” the representative said. “We asked around, and the general consensus was that was what would make people most comfortable.”
Open carry in Texas went into effect on Jan. 1.