In our October newsletter, we wrote about how the efforts of Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker were successful in getting the 30.06 sign removed from the entrance to the Houston Zoo, allowing CHL holders to carry concealed without fear of being arrested. The sign had been improperly posted for nearly a decade, but a change in the law now holds government entities accountable for illegal posting of 30.06 signs on government property and provided a process for individuals to challenge improper sign postings.
You may have asked yourself, “What can I do about the 30.06 sign posted at my local zoo, public library, city hall, or other government building that shouldn’t be there?” Well, the answer can be found in Texas Government Code § 411.209, which provides a straight-forward legal process to get an illegal 30.06 sign removed from the property of a government agency where it shouldn’t be posted.
Under the Section, a handgun license holder, or even simply any Texas citizen, can provide a government agency with a written notice that an illegal 30.06 sign is posted where it is not supposed to be. The notice should provide the specific location of the sign and a request that the sign be removed. The government then has till the end of the third business day after receiving the notice to correct the problem and remove the offending sign. If the sign is not removed, a formal complaint can then be filed with the Texas Attorney General.
For example, suppose you see a 30.06 sign posted at the main entrance to your local city park. You decide it’s time to do your part to stand up for the rights of all handgun license holders in Texas. The first thing you need to do is provide the city with a written notice informing them that the 30.06 sign posted at the main entrance to the park is in violation of Texas Government Code § 411.209, that they may not legally prohibit handgun license holders from carrying concealed handguns on the property, and requesting that the sign be removed.
Then you wait. The city will have three business days to take down the sign from the date they actually receive your written notice, not from the date you sent it. If, for example, the city physically receives the notice on Tuesday, it must take down the sign by the end of business Friday. If the sign is not removed and/or you receive notice from the city that the sign will not be removed, Texas law then gives you powerful recourse by way of a formal complaint to the Texas Attorney General.
Attorney General Complaint
If your request is ignored, the good news is that the Texas Attorney General has made it easy to file a complaint by setting up a hotline you can call at 1-844-584-3006, as well as an online portal you can visit at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/apps/3006/.
Remember, there are specific governmental locations where it is lawful to prohibit guns, and they are listed in Texas Penal Code sections 46.03 and 46.035. So, before filing a complaint, be certain the sign is not located on one of those listed government properties. Make sure that you have all the relevant information needed to accurately describe the location of the sign, the government agency or political subdivision which posted the sign, your encounter with it, and the other information the online portal requires in order to complete an online submission. Be sure to upload pictures of the sign in question and your complaint to the government entity in Word or PDF format, which will make it easier for the Attorney General’s office to process your complaint and support your case. At that point, you have done all you can do.
What Happens Next?
Once the Attorney General’s office receives your complaint, the rest will be up to the Attorney General to follow the law as set out in the Government Code. First, there will be an investigation of the complaint to determine if legal action is required. If the Attorney General determines it is required, he will notify the government entity of the violation and the potential financial repercussions of their continued violation. If the sign is not removed within 15 days from receipt of the Attorney General’s notice, there are a number of options at the Attorney General’s disposal, including a lawsuit. If the government is found to be in the wrong, it may have to pay not only a penalty for posting the sign, but also court costs, attorney’s fees, witness fees, and investigation costs! These costs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars or more.
Your Diligence is Needed!
Protecting our gun rights is a group endeavor, and without the efforts of gun owners and enthusiasts like our members, our gun rights are in danger of being taken away piece-by-piece by hoplophobes (those with an “irrational aversion to weapons” for all you crossword or Scrabble fans) with a disdain for the Second Amendment. While we here at Texas Law Shield are always on the lookout to do what we can to stand up for our rights, the contributions of good folks like you are invaluable and imminently necessary in the ongoing struggle for our Constitutional rights! If you have a question about how you can get an illegal 30.06 sign taken down in your community, don’t hesitate to call us and our Program Attorneys will be more than happy to assist!