Cops + Carry

I received an email today, asking for legal sources about Texas Peace Officers (a.k.a. cops) being able to freely carry wherever they want.

Well, first off, let’s start here: Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA).

LEOSA was signed into Federal law on 2004 by George W Bush. The high points are these:

  • Allows two classes of persons—the “qualified law enforcement officer” and the “qualified retired law enforcement officer” — to carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of any state or local law to the contrary, with certain exceptions.
  • Notwithstanding any other provision of the law of any State or any political subdivision thereof, he or she may carry a concealed firearm in any state or political subdivision thereof. See Title 18, USC, Section 921, which defines “state” to also include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Possessions. Thus, the LEOSA-qualified person does not generally require a state-issued permit for carrying concealed firearms.
  • The laws of any State that (1) permit private persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their property; or (2) prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any State or local government property, installation, building, base, or park.” This does not mean that LEOSA-qualified persons are prohibited from carrying concealed firearms in such areas, but only that they must obey whatever state laws apply on those two points. They are free to disregard all other state and local laws that govern the carrying of concealed firearms.

As I said, those are the high points in regard to legality of carrying from LEOSA. In short, the qualified LEO can carry where they want, except for private business and residences that displays their State’s legal version of “Concealed Firearms Prohibited”, State or local government property, and they must obey what the State says in respect to prohibited areas.

That is what the Feds say.

Now, as the tail end of the previous section said, the qualified LEO must obey the State’s laws on prohibited areas. So, for Texas, this means Sections 46.02 and 46.03 of the Texas Penal Code.

Section 46.02 outlines unlicensed carry (for non-CHL holders), which is you can only carry on your own personal property and premises, and carry in your vehicle, which is handgun must remain concealed, and you can not be participating in criminal activity other than a Class C Misdemeanor (think traffic laws), prohibited by law from possessing the firearm, or a member of a criminal street gang.

Section 46.03 outlines where it is illegal to carry. This is the jist of it. Feel free to go to the above link and read the actual document for yourself. Illegal to carry: Schools, school grounds, polling place on day of election or early voting, any government court or offices used by the courts, racetrack, in or into a secured area of an airport, or 1000 feet of a prison on the day the prison is executing someone.

Something else I need to say about prohibited areas. In Texas, a private party (such as a private business) can post a sign that says:

“PURSUANT TO SECTION 30.06, PENAL CODE (TRESPASS BY HOLDER OF A LICENSE TO CARRY A CONCEALED HANDGUN) A PERSON LICENSED UNDER SUBCHAPTER H, CHAPTER 411, GOVERNMENT CODE (CONCEALED HANDGUN LAW), MAY NOT ENTER THIS PROPERTY WITH A CONCEALED HANDGUN.”

“CONFORME A LA SECCIÓN 30.06 DEL CÔDIGO PENAL (TRASPASAR PORTANDO ARMAS DE FUEGO) PERSONAS CON LICENCIA BAJO DEL SUB-CAPITULO H, CAPITULO 411, CODIGO DE GOBIERNO (LEY DE PORTAR ARMAS), NO DEBEN ENTRAR A ESTA PROPIEDAD PORTANDO UN ARMA DE FUEGO.”

There are other things to it as well, such as height of the letters. You can read about the other requirements for posting that sign on the Texas DPS website.

In a nut shell, with that sign posted, a holder of a CHL can not legally enter that property with a concealed handgun, in addition to the other places listed under 46.03.

That is a summary of the law regarding citizen concealed carry in Texas.

 Now, this is how those laws apply to police officers.

Section 46.15 of the Texas Penal Code is entitled Nonapplicability, and covers the who, where, when, and why certain people are exempt from 46.02 and 46.03. The part covering police officers says:

(a) Sections 46.02 and 46.03 do not apply to:

(1) peace officers or special investigators under Article 2.122, Code of Criminal

Procedure [ed note: meaning people like FBI, DEA, etc] and neither section prohibits a peace officer or special investigator from

carrying a weapon in this state, including in an establishment in this state serving the

public, regardless of whether the peace officer or special investigator is engaged in the

actual discharge of the officer’s or investigator’s duties while carrying the weapon;

The summary of that means cops are exempt from 46.02 and 46.03, whether they are on duty or off.

Now, on to the CHL sign that I posted earlier (I’ll call it the 30.06 sign). Simply put, it doesn’t apply to LEOs. There isn’t any kind of statute or law that says LEOs are exempt, so don’t go bother looking for any. But then why doesn’t it apply to LEOs? The 30.06 sign defines it: “A PERSON LICENSED UNDER SUBCHAPTER H, CHAPTER 411, GOVERNMENT CODE (CONCEALED HANDGUN LAW)”. Cops aren’t licensed under that law, meaning they aren’t CHL holders. Because they aren’t CHL holders, the 30.06 sign and statute doesn’t apply to them.

So, then where/when are Texas LEOs prohibited from carrying? Federal property, which are places like post offices, military bases, etc, and if they are under the influence, meaning alcohol, medication, etc. Other than those, they are free to carry. Sadly, Texas CHL holders don’t get the same freedoms. Maybe one day….

Obviously, this is from my understanding of the law, through reading the Texas Penal Code and the Texas DPS CHL website, and talks with active law enforcement personnel. I am not a lawyer and don’t play one on T.V. If you follow any advice I have posted about the laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to concealed carry, you do so at your own risk. If you have questions about what I have posted, I will answer them to the best of my ability, but remember, I am not a lawyer and assume no responsibility if you break the law and get caught. If you have real legal questions, seek the advice of a lawyer.

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2 Responses to “Cops + Carry”

  1. I know a gun collector that lives 150 yards from a school in Austin. He’s a full time felon, aye?…other than the fact that he’s a person of advanced degrees and related employ and no criminality? Hasn’t been a problem but it could be one.

  2. See, I’m a full time felon as well. I can stand in my backyard and hit the local high school with a rock.

    I asked several local police officers and a deputy for the county about it, and I was told I can carry a firearm whilst in the gun free zone, because I live in the area. The catch is this, I must take the most direct path to wherever it is I am going. They can’t penalize you for just so happening living in a school zone.

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