Thread: New concealer
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Old July 19, 2012, 08:32 AM   #15
Bartholomew Roberts
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Join Date: June 12, 2000
Location: Texas and Oklahoma area
Posts: 5,718
Quote:
Originally Posted by twobit
A better section for your answers would be Penal Code 46.03 (a)(1) and penal code 46.03 1(f) and discusses carrying. Places weapons prohibited.

(a) (1) is physical premises of a school. That means ALL the property.
If you will read Section 46.03(c)(1) it defines premises for the purposes of 46.03 as "(c) In this section: (1) "Premises" has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035."

So "premises" in Section 46.03 (Places Weapons Prohibited) means the same thing as it does in Section 46.035 (Unlawful Carrying of a Handgun By a License Holder). ""Premises" means a building or a portion of a building. The term does not include any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area.

Quote:
Somewhere in a statute (might be in Texas Education code) it talks about school "property" which includes all the land around the buildings
That would be irrelevant to an interpretation of Section 46.03 since the term "premises" is specifically defined in Section 46.03.

Quote:
Storing handgun in your car on a campus has been ruled (by TX Attn. general ) to be OK if you have a CHL. Walking around in the parking lot carrying concealed with a CHL is not OK.
The Attorney General released an Opinion letter (96-009) dealing with CHL carry on the grounds of a scholastic event in 1996. This letter applied a more expansive definition of premises to include all of the school grounds. At that time, Section 46.03 did not define "premises" so the Attorney General elected to use the meaning from Black's Law Dictionary, which was more expansive and included the grounds of the school. Due to the change in the law, I am not sure this Opinion Letter would still hold up given the legislature's plain intent in changing the law to contradict the AG.

Quote:
Every time the laws change (every two years) I go to a Legislative Law update session. They are for peace officers to be informed about any new laws or about any new Attn. General Opinions which are called "case law". I'm a university police officer. On a campus, two sets of laws apply...Texas Penal Code and Texas Education Code.
It is interesting to see what instructions police officers are receiving regarding arrests - that is always a more reliable indicator of how to avoid trouble than the actual law may be. However, given the description of "premises" above, I am wondering how the university's lawyers arrived at their interpretation?

Section 46.03 prohibits possession of a firearm "(1) on the physical premises of a school or educational institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution, whether the school or educational institution is public or private, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution;"

We already know that the parking lot is not the "premises" of a school, and a parking lot is not a school vehicle. So the only basis I can see for their claim that walking around a parking lot would not be OK is the "any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted." The university would have to claim that the parking lot was a "grounds on which an activity sponsored by the school was being conducted." I don't think that argument is a very compelling one, though it does strike me as being an argument you would get to see a jury over.

And on a side note, an AG's opinion letter is not the same thing as "case law". It is just the legal opinion of the state attorney general (which given that he prosecutes violations of the law, is no small thing to ignore); but just like other lawyers, the courts may not agree with that opinion. Case law is a decision by the court on a point of law, and it is binding on all lower courts - meaning that the lower court is not free to disagree with that particular opinion (though they occasionally do so anyways).

One more thing - a violation of 46.03 is a third degree felony - meaning you lose both your right to carry and your right to possess firearms forever if you are convicted. So regardless of apparent grey areas in how the law might be interpreted, it pays to stay on the safe side and not push your luck.

Last edited by Bartholomew Roberts; July 19, 2012 at 08:47 AM.
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