Frequently, it seems like freedom is a battle of inches where our rights are stolen in scraps, and it is only when a right is completely taken away that we notice what damage has been done. In this way, a little can go a long way to preserve our gun rights! Earlier this month, Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker sent a demand letter to a number of organizations affiliated with the Houston Zoo – the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the Houston Zoo Development Corp., and the Houston Zoo itself – to remove the illegal 30.06 sign posted at the Zoo’s main entrance. The improperly-posted sign did not comply with the new Texas Government Code § 411.209 and was illegally posted on city-owned property for over ten years, leading CHL holders to believe they couldn’t carry on the property, when in fact, it was completely legal.
Texas Penal Code §30.06(e) renders 30.06 signs posted on property owned or leased by a governmental entity invalid. However, the problem with this is that for years there has been no penalty for posting an invalid sign. This allowed many governmental entities (including the Houston Zoo) to illegally post 30.06 signs supposedly providing notice that concealed carry on the property was prohibited, despite the fact that the signs were not legally effective, and the government could not legally prohibit concealed carry on the premises. Thankfully, the recent legislative session added Texas Government Code § 411.209, which contains a penalty for any state agency or political subdivision of the state (such as a city) that wrongfully attempts to exclude a concealed handgun license holder from premises or property owned or leased by a governmental entity. This new law became effective September 1, 2015.
The first day the law went into effect, Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker immediately sent written notice to the Houston Zoo and its affiliated agencies to inform them that the sign posted at the main zoo entrance was improper, and that the city should remove it or it would face the penalties specified in the new law. After reviewing Mr. Walker’s complaint, the City instructed the Houston Zoo to remove the 30.06 sign, allowing CHL holders to now carry their concealed handguns into the zoo without being unjustly intimidated and fearful that they are breaking the law. Big thanks to Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker for standing up for the rights of Texas gun owners!