School Safety Law Toolkit
Effective Date: September 1, 2021
Allows unlicensed persons who are 21 years or older, and not otherwise prohibited by law, to carry a firearm.
School districts can prohibit individuals from bringing firearms onto the school premises. Notice is required for a person to be successfully prosecuted for entering the premises with a firearm. School districts have two new options as it relates to firearm warning signs: Texas Penal Code 30.05 and Texas Penal Code 46.03. Existing concealed (Texas Penal Code 30.06) and open carry (30.07) notices remain.
Texas Penal Code 30.05 Criminal Trespass
- Signs may be posted if a property owner does not want anyone entering their property with firearms. Signs must be posted at each property entrance, and they must say that pursuant to Texas Penal Code 30.05, it is criminally trespassing to enter their property with a firearm. The signs must be written in both English and Spanish, in contrasting, block letters that are one inch or higher, and be clearly visible. Texas Penal Code 30.05(c).
- It is a Class C misdemeanor to enter property, land, or buildings with a firearm or other weapon when it is forbidden to do so, when the sole purpose for entering that property, land, or building with a firearm or weapon was because it was forbidden to do so. The offense is increased to a Class A misdemeanor if, at trial, it is shown that the person was informed verbally, in writing, or in another form of notice, from the property owner, or person with authority to act for the owner, that entry was forbidden with a firearm or weapon and the person still failed to leave. Texas Penal Code 30.05(d-3).
Texas Penal Code 46.03 Places Weapons Prohibited
- It is a Class A misdemeanor offense for a person to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possess or enter the premises of a school or educational institution with a firearm, location-restricted knife, club, or prohibited weapon. New language includes intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possessing or entering the premises of a high school or collegiate sporting event or UIL event, unless the person is a participant and the firearm, knife, club, or prohibited weapon is used in the event. Texas Penal Code 46.03(a)(8).
It is a Class A misdemeanor offense for a license holder to:
- Carry a visible handgun, whether it is partially or completely visible, it is holstered, or it is on their person, and they intentionally and knowingly display the handgun to another person in certain locations on and around the premises of an institution of higher education, or private or independent institution of higher education. Texas Penal Code 46.03(a-2).
- Carry a handgun on the campus of a private or independent institution of higher education which prohibits license holders from carrying handguns in their rules, regulations, or other provisions. Texas Penal Code 46.03(a-3).
- Intentionally carry a concealed handgun on a portion of a premises located on the campus of an institution of higher education where it is prohibited to do so per their rules, regulations, or other provisions. Texas Penal Code 46.03(a-4).
It is a defense to prosecution if a person carries a weapon in a prohibited place described in Texas Penal Code 46.03 if they:
- (1) Carried the handgun on property in which it is prohibited to do.
- (2) Received notice from the property owner, another person with authority to act for the owner, or there was a notice that carrying a weapon on that property was prohibited.
- (3) The person promptly left the property.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 14.03(h)
- Allows a peace office to disarm a person if the officer is acting within their official duties and they reasonably believe it is necessary to do so for everyone’s protection, including their own. Requires the peace officer to return the handgun to the person if the officer believes the person is not a threat and the person was not arrested. The handgun must be returned prior to releasing the person from the scene. A peace officer acting within their official duties may temporarily disarm a person when that person enters a secure area of a law enforcement facility, provided that the law enforcement agency provides a gun locker or another secure area in which the handgun can be secured. The peace officer is responsible for securing the handgun in the secure location and for returning the handgun immediately after the person leaves the secure portion of the facility.
Clarifies that a person is not allowed to possess, transport, or store a handgun, firearm, or ammunition in violation of TEC 37.125, Texas Penal Code 46.03, or other law. (Removed Texas Penal Code 46.035 from this list.)