Some people are under the impression that because some banks say “federal” in their name, are FDIC insured, or that because they are in the business of dealing in U.S. currency, there are extra rules when it comes to License to Carry (“LTC”) holders carrying in these locations. However, there are no special laws regarding carrying into banks in Texas. Therefore, you should treat banks the same as you would any other privately owned premises.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
Like any other private establishment, banks may exclude LTC holders from carrying handguns on their property by providing effective trespass notice. Typically, this notice is accomplished through the posting of an effective “Section 30.06” sign (prohibiting concealed carry) and/or an effective “Section 30.07” sign (prohibiting open carry). To be considered effective, however, the sign or signs must meet certain requirements, such as:
- Specific statutory language in English and Spanish;
- Appear in block letters at least one inch in height;
- Appear in contrasting colors; and be
- Conspicuously displayed.
However, signs are not the only way to provide effective notice. The owner of the bank or someone with apparent authority can also provide effective notice through other written or oral communications. This might come in the form of an employee telling you that “no guns are allowed,” or handing you a slip of paper containing effective language.
If a bank provides effective 30.06 or 30.07 notice that LTC holders’ entry onto the premises with a handgun is prohibited, then carrying a handgun into that bank would constitute a Class C misdemeanor trespass, punishable by a fine of up to $200.
If the LTC holder is provided personal oral notice to depart and refuses, however, the penalty increases to a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 365 days in jail, a fine up to $4,000, or both.
There is some good news: if the LTC holder promptly departs from the property after an employee or authority figure asks them to leave with their handgun, they would have a defense to prosecution. Meaning a jury would be instructed to find them not guilty unless the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt they did not promptly depart.
The bottom line: if effective signs are posted or you receive some other form of effective notice to leave the bank with your handgun, you must promptly comply, or you could face criminal consequences.
For more information about carrying into a private establishment or any other facility, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.