TDCAA Community
SB 273 or shotguns and rifles and pistols oh my!

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June 17, 2015, 10:45
Lisa Peterson
SB 273 or shotguns and rifles and pistols oh my!
Our rural courthouse has three floors - CCL, Commissioners, JP, CA, Co Clerk, auditor, treasurer, and tax office on 1, District offices and Veteran Service on 2, Probation (adult on one end, juvenile on the other), extension and various state aid and welfare offices on 3.

As I read this, (a political subdivision of
the state may not provide notice ... that a license holder
carrying a handgun under the authority of this subchapter is
prohibited from entering or remaining on a premises ... unless license holders
are prohibited from carrying a handgun ... by Section 46.03 or 46.035, Penal Code.) we can ban guns "on the premises of any government court or offices
utilized by the court" BUT we cannot ban them in the building.

How are others going to handle this? A sign on the door of the courtroom, judges' offices, and clerks? Probation?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lisa Peterson,

Lisa L. Peterson
Nolan County Attorney
June 23, 2015, 09:27
Scott Brumley
A bit convoluted, yes? I'm still trying to digest how this will impact us.

As I read it right now (and I will readily abide by any contrary insight the TDCAA crew can provide during the Legislative Update), the only specific limitation on the definition of "premises" in section 46.035 pertains to OMA-regulated meetings (e.g., commissioners court meetings). Otherwise, "premises" still means a building or a portion of a building.

Not being immediately privy to the official legislative history, I don't know whether that means the more expansive meaning of "premises" still applies to courts. If that's true, the statute could be read as intended to limit prohibition of handguns in government buildings that host only meetings and administrative activities, but not in a building with an actual, functioning court. If that's true, government office buildings might be subject to the room-and-in-progress-meeting restriction, while those with one or more courts might not. Our courthouses (we have a "Courthouse" and a "Courts Building") have a mixture of judicial and non-judicial offices like yours. I think our commissioners court would prefer to maintain the entirety of both buildings as gun-free zones (to the extent current law allows that) if possible. If anyone reads this morass differently, I'd certainly be interested in considering that reasoning.
June 23, 2015, 10:09
Lisa Peterson
Then again....we are probably the ONLY courthouse in the state with a display of fully operable firearms in the a case with ordinary glass over them, and no alarm system.

Lisa L. Peterson
Nolan County Attorney
June 30, 2015, 13:44
Shannon Edmonds
Having just finished summarizing this mess for our Legislative Update book, I can't give advice on how best to post notice, etc., but it seems to me that the basics are as follows:

Therefore, Lisa, if you have a court and/or court offices in your courthouse, PC 46.03 prohibits the carrying of a firearm on those premises (read: building), so I'm not sure the new law changed anything for your set-up. But that conclusion will vary from county to county depending on who offices where.

Does that sound right?

(P.s. - if you think you have a headache from this, be glad you don't work for a college or university--the campus carry stuff is a real mess!)
June 30, 2015, 13:56
Lisa Peterson
Thank you, Shannon. My judges will certainly appreciate that....especially the one whose office is not near his courtroom.

Do I need to bring Advil to the update for you? Or cookies?

Lisa L. Peterson
Nolan County Attorney
July 08, 2015, 15:05
You hooked me Lisa, I had to go to youtube. Makes me want to drive out there today and take a look at that Winchester collection.
July 08, 2015, 15:59
Lisa Peterson
Sure thing, Ray, come on out!

Lisa L. Peterson
Nolan County Attorney
July 27, 2015, 15:18
A. Diamond
And now, a pending AG opinion request from San Angelo on this issue:

Go to:
Received: Friday, July 24, 2015
Re: The extent to which firearms may be excluded from buildings that contain courts, offices utilized by the courts, and other county officials
Requestor: The Honorable Allison Palmer
51st Judicial District Attorney
124 West Beauregard
San Angelo, Texas 76903-5850
September 01, 2015, 16:56
My Comm. Ct. has asked that my office write an amicus brief to the Opinion Committee on this topic urging that buildings that house courtrooms, court offices and other county administratrive offices be off limits to those carrying handguns, whether concealed or openly carried. Have any other counties submitted briefs or contemplating submitting one?
September 15, 2015, 15:46
Shannon Edmonds
Here's yet another, similar AG opinion request, FYI

September 24, 2015, 16:05
A. Diamond
And another one (school districts this time):

Go to:
Received: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Re: Application of Penal Code sections 30.07 and 46.03, relating to the open carry of handguns, to school districts
Requestor: The Honorable John Whitmire
Chair, Committee on Criminal Justice
Texas State Senate
Post Office Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711-2068
December 10, 2015, 14:25
Lori J. Kaspar
I have started a Dropbox folder for county officials who want to access research, ideas, etc. on the new laws regarding open carry.

email me if you'd like to be added to the group:
December 10, 2015, 15:09
Lori J. Kaspar
"It is an exception to the application of this section that the property on which the license holder carries [or openly carries] the handgun is owned or leased by a governmental entity and is not a premises pr other place on which the license holder is prohibited from carrying the handgun under Section 46.03 or 46.035."

So, according to 30.06 and 30.07, do "property" and "premises" mean the same thing?

If so, then is it true that a government's "property" no longer includes public or private driveways, streets, sidewalks, walkways, parking lots, parking garages, or other parking areas?

Or does "property" mean something else and "premises" means what's in 46.035?
December 10, 2015, 15:18
Lori J. Kaspar
And another request for opinion

Hon. Brian Birdwell
December 22, 2015, 08:23
A. Diamond
Opinion: (KP-0047) The extent to which firearms may be excluded from buildings that contain courts, offices utilized by the courts, and other county officials.

December 22, 2015, 08:23
A. Diamond
Opinion: (KP-0049) Questions regarding a notice prohibiting entry with a handgun onto certain premises under section 30.06 of the Penal Code and section 411.209 of the Government Code

December 22, 2015, 08:24
A. Diamond
Opinion: (KP-0050) Application of Penal Code sections 30.07 and 46.03, relating to the open carry of handguns, to school districts

December 22, 2015, 08:24
A. Diamond
Opinion: (KP-0051) Authority of an institution of higher education to establish certain rules regarding the carrying of handguns on campus

December 22, 2015, 10:53
Moira Schilke
Thoughts?. . .

“On the Premises”

It seems reasonable (to me) that the term “on the premises” exists to ensure that the entryways, hallways, stairways and other common areas that serve the protected areas are also covered. This makes sense (to me) because such areas almost always exist between the point at which a building is secured and the actual courtroom, office, etc.

“Portion of a Building”

By “portion of a building,” it seems to me, the statute references a single building that is divided into separate parts, each of which is inaccessible from the others and has its own entrance (or entrances) from the exterior (i.e. a strip center is a single building with separate spaces that are individually secured and individually accessible. To get from one to another you must exit the one, walk down the sidewalk, then enter the other).

Courts Buildings

Our courts building is a single undivided building to which access is secured at a single point – the first floor entrance. In other words, it has no “portions.” The lobby, the two elevators, the stairs, the hallways and any other common areas of the courthouse serve ALL of the courts and other offices inside, and thus constitute the "premises" of each. One such office is the DA's office. A person is expressly prohibited by law from carrying weapons on the premises of a court. That a person is not prohibited from carrying onto the premises of a DA's office does not matter, because once a person steps into the courthouse, they are on the premises of a court, and remain so until they exit the courts building.
December 22, 2015, 11:52
Moira Schilke
does anybody know what the logical basis was for excepting government-owned or government-leased buildings? Is there some reason that people need to carry guns in government buildings?