HARLINGEN — People with a concealed carry license will soon be able to carry their handguns openly in Texas.
House Bill 910, passed in May, allows concealed handgun license holders to display their guns in a shoulder or belt holster. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Harlingen Police Chief Jeffrey Adickes recently discussed the newly adopted law with the Harlingen Rotary Club.
He assured the club Harlingen is the safest city in the Rio Grande Valley.
“It is a bright shining spot in the Valley,” he said.
The new license to carry created by this bill will replace the existing concealed handgun license.
It’s a law Adickes thought would never pass.
“But this is Texas,” he said with a laugh. “It’s basically an extension of the concealed handgun license law with a few exceptions.”
Applicants must meet the same requirements currently imposed for concealed handgun carry and those who already have a concealed handgun license will not have to re-apply.
Applicants must be 21, pass a background check and receive classroom and shooting range instruction.
“There is no difference in the licenses and no difference in training,” Adickes said. “It is still prohibited in city and government buildings where a city meeting is taking place.”
Starting Aug. 1, 2016, institutions of higher education and private schools will allow a concealed handgun on campus.
“You’ll be able to carry a concealed handgun but not an open carry,” Adickes said. “That still means no elementary schools, middle schools or high schools.”
Business owners and employers will have the authority to ban weapons on their property and work place using the proper legal signage.
“The state is very specific about how these signs are worded,” he said. “Please make sure it meets the requirements.”
In places of worship, pastors or the heads of churches have the authority to ban handguns or allow them on the premises.
Adickes also informed the group, when stopped by law enforcement it is in the best interest of the person to show both I.D. and concealed gun license.
Texas is the 45th state to become an open carry state.