Houston Matters

The Unintended Consequences of Texas’ Open Carry Law

Open carry has been in effect in the state of Texas for a month now. The new law allows concealed handgun license holders to carry pistols openly. But private businesses can ban it on their premises, providing — at every entrance — they post 30.07 signs, so named for the statute which requires them. Those […]

Photo: Craig Cohen, Houston Public Media

Open carry has been in effect in the state of Texas for a month now. The new law allows concealed handgun license holders to carry pistols openly. But private businesses can ban it on their premises, providing — at every entrance — they post 30.07 signs, so named for the statute which requires them. Those signs are popping up more and more in Houston, sometimes accompanied by 30.06 signs, which allow private businesses to ban concealed carry, which was already the law in Texas.

The rise in the number of businesses displaying these signs across Greater Houston highlights a number of potential unintended consequences of the new open carry law: by putting the onus on businesses to decide their own policy, it’s leading some who previously allowed concealed carry not to, some businesses to allow concealed carry but not open carry, and some consumers to decide whether or not to frequent a business based, in part, on whether they have one or both of those signs on the door. The result is some contention, some confusion, some changing consumer habits, and the ones benefiting most may well be the manufacturers of those signs.

We examine the unintended consequences of open carry from several perspectives: first, we talk with Terry Holcomb, the Executive Director of Texas Carry, an organization of gun rights activists which lobbied for the new law. Then we discuss what the law actually stipulates with Houston-based attorney and certified licensed-to-carry handgun instructor Ross Asher. We hear from David Buehrer, a co-owner of some area coffee bars about the decision he and his fellow owners made to ban open carry in their businesses. And we talk with Bill Ellman, the President of TAABSink.com, a sign-making company that has seen a spike in business since open carry went into effect.

(Above: A 30.07 sign outside the HEB grocery store at 9503 Jones Rd. Photo: Craig Cohen, Houston Public Media.)

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