New Texas laws regarding the licensing of handguns take effect on January 1, 2016. Known as open carry, the new laws effectively eliminate a distinction between concealed carry and open carry. A license is still required for a handgun owner who wishes to carry the weapon in public.
A licensed handgun owner will have permission to carry openly or in a concealed manner. Those carrying a handgun in an open manner must have the weapon in shoulder or belt holster.
Under the new laws, the City cannot prohibit someone from carrying a handgun in a concealed or open manner in most City facilities or property. Places where licensed carry is allowed, as long as the handgun is concealed or holstered, includes most public areas such as:
- Public lobbies such those at the Georgetown Municipal Complex, City Hall, Animal Shelter, Public Safety Operations and Training Center, or Georgetown Municipal Airport Terminal
- Public facilities such as the Public Library, Recreation Center, Community Center, or Tennis Center
- Public parks such as San Gabriel Park, or the hike and bike trail
Open carry of a handgun is not permitted in the following places, except by a licensed peace officer. A sign about the prohibition will be placed at these meeting locations. Concealed carry is permitted and was previously permitted.
- City Council meetings at the City Council Chamber at 101 E. Seventh Street
- Boards and commission meetings and other open meetings subject to the Open Meetings Act at various locations
Open or concealed carry of a handgun is not permitted in the following places, except by a licensed peace officer. Open or concealed carry was previously not permitted.
- Courtroom for Municipal Court at 101 E. Seventh Street
- Polling places for City elections at various locations
Private businesses or places of worship or other private property may prohibit the open carry of handguns if required signs are posted in English and Spanish, oral notice is given, or a card with the prohibition is presented. Details on the wording of signs specified in the Texas Penal Code 30.07 are available on the Texas Department of Public Safety website at www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/chl/legal/newlegislation.htm.
Open or concealed carry of a handgun is still not permitted at a public or private school or on school grounds or in a school transportation vehicle, except by a licensed peace officer.
An unlicensed handgun is permitted in a vehicle or watercraft, as long as it is not in plain view. A licensed handgun is permitted in a vehicle or watercraft, as long as it is not in plain view or if it is holstered.
Laws regarding the lawful carry of long guns, such as rifles, remain unchanged.
Residents with questions about the new laws regarding the licensing of handguns and open carry can find further information on the Texas Department of Public Safety website at www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/chl/legal/newlegislation.htm, or contact the Georgetown Police Department non-emergency number at (512) 930-3510.