Texas is one of many states that allow citizens to carry concealed handguns and has done so since 1996; almost 20 years. In January of this year, Texans who have a Concealed Handgun License (“CHL”) will also have the right to open carry handguns. What does this mean for property owners?
There are two areas that the Texas Legislature is loath to mess with…and that is gun rights and property rights. As the legislature has given CHL licensed Texans the right to carry a handgun, they also recognize that not all businesses and/or property owners want to have people on site carrying guns. Property owners still retain the right to ask anyone to leave their property and if they don’t comply, the police can arrest or cite them for a criminal trespass offense.
The legislation allowed for a property or business owner to post signs (called 30.06 [CHL] and 30.07 [open carry] signs) at all entry points stating the property owners desire to prohibit concealed or open carry of handguns on their property. If a person violates this, they are subject to arrest for a criminal offense. The signs are not a requirement, but do give advance notice of the business or property owners desires.
Is this something that most property owners should do? What if I have tenants that want to do something different?
We are recommending that property owners take a noninterference position unless there is a good reason to do so. As for tenants, most owners are leaving it to them to determine if they want to bar handguns from their space. Unfortunately for property owners, there is no safe harbor for them to reside if something happens and it could be reasonable presumed that a person with a handgun could have prevented injury to innocents. Of course the opposite could be true if someone was injured by a licensed person with a handgun and the owner did not bar them from the property.
It seems the safest position for property owners is to stand down and not usurp the rights our Legislature and Governor decided to confer upon the citizenry. This way they can argue that they did not grant any right nor did they stand in the way of the open or concealed carry rights.
Unfortunately, the best decision will likely be decided by the courts after some tragedy occurs.
According to the final estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), real gross domestic product (GDP) in the U.S. grew at an annualized rate of 1.8 percent during the first quarter of 2013, a downward revision from the prior estimate of 2.4 percent annual growth. In comparison, real GDP growth was was a very weak 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Growth in real GDP during the first quarter of 2013 was tempered by government spending which contracted at an 8.7 percent annual rate and consumer spending which grew at a tepid 2.4 percent annual rate.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas expects modest to moderate economic growth through the remainder of the year as employment growth is projected to accelerate to an annualized rate between 1.8 and 2.2 percent during the second half of 2013, while inflation is forecast in the range of 1.5 to 2 percent over the next year. As of June 2013, the Federal Reserve Board Members and Federal Reserve Bank Presidents projected the change in real GDP for 2013 would be in the range of 2.0 to 2.6 percent.
Fortunately, we live in Texas which accounted for 9 percent of the the total U.S. GDP in 2012 and should continue to garner a large portion of future gains in total U.S. economic growth. Although the largest share of Texas’ annual growth in 2012 GDP (1.38 percent) occurred in the mining, logging and construction sector resulting from the boom in energy-related businesses, the Texas economy is diversified with a highly educated workforce and relatively low business costs that position the state for sustained economic expansion. The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts expects Texas to achieve 3.4 percent annual growth in GDP in 2013, much stronger than the 2 to 2.6 percent growth anticipated for the U.S., led by gains in the Professional and Business Services, Trade, Transportation and Utilities, and Manufacturing sectors.
All the world’s a stage, but if Texas were a country where would it rank on the global stage? One measure of comparison is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or total output of goods and services produced by a country or, in this case, Texas. According to statistics just released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the GDP produced by Texas in 2012 totaled $1,397,369 million and would rank 13th in the world, behind Canada and Spain but ahead of Australia and Mexico.