Gov. Greg Abbott Says Multipurpose Municipal Buildings Can't Ban Concealed Handguns


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The Austin Community Impact Newspaper is reporting that multipurpose government buildings cannot prohibit the concealed carry of handguns.

From the report:

However, the memo from the governor’s office addresses “some confusion” caused by state law language. Licensed concealed handgun carriers can only be barred from portions of public buildings where governmental meetings and court proceedings occur while they are underway, according to the memo. That means security checkpoints can be set in front of council chambers, for example, but not the City Hall entrance, according to the governor’s legal interpretation.

“It is the state agency’s or political subdivision’s burden to identify the particular portion of [the] building where it wants to ban CHL holders,” the memo states.

The response is in a memo sent by Abbott's office to Attorney General Ken Paxton, who hasn't made a ruling yet on a request about the topic submitted by Hays and Tom Green counties' district attorneys, Austin Community Impact Newspaper reported.

San Antonio's Municipal Plaza Building — where City Council meetings are held — has a security checkpoint leading into the chambers. Austin, however, has a no guns decal on the front door of City Hall, according to the report.

Concealed handgun licensees can't carry a gun into City Council Chambers during a government meeting, despite a new law that went into effect in September that says government entities in Texas can't use signs or imagery to ban concealed handgun licensees from carrying their weapons on the premises.

"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, in the room or rooms where a [at any] meeting of a governmental entity is held and if the meeting is an open meeting subject to Chapter 551, Government Code, and the entity provided notice as required by that chapter," the law states.

The City of Austin is disputing Abbott's assertion, Austin Community Impact Newspaper reported.