FAQ: Public Libraries and Open Carry
Can public library districts in Texas choose to ban users with an open/concealed carry license from bringing a firearm into the library?
No, library districts are public entities and not specifically exempted under the law (Texas Penal Code §46.035) so a library cannot choose to impose their own local restrictions. In most cases, public library districts may not prohibit licensed individuals from bringing handguns into the library, and the library may not wrongfully post signs.
Can a public library that is established as a non-profit organization restrict access for library users with an open/concealed handgun carry license?
Yes. If the library and building are owned by a private non-profit organization, the library building is private property, and therefore the property owner can ask their users not to bring firearms into the facility. As a non-governmental entity, the library would have to inform the public of this prohibition with a notice posted as specified in Texas Penal Code §30.06 and 30.07.
Can I post a sign that handguns may not be carried in my public library?
No, unless your library and premises are owned by a private non-profit organization. A private, non-profit library can post a notice as outlined in Texas Penal Code §30.06 and 30.07.
Are there any individual times or days where handguns would be banned?
Yes, there are a few. Handguns are not allowed at a library, even for licensed carriers, at the following times:
- during school-sponsored activities on library grounds (Texas Penal Code §46.03(a)(1))
- during early voting or on election day if the library is a polling place (Texas Penal Code §46.03(a)(2))
- during a meeting of a governmental body, such as a public library district board meeting, but only in the room where the meeting is being held (Texas Penal Code §46.035(c))
Does the person licensed to carry the handgun need to have it secured in any way?
Yes. The weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, must be kept in a shoulder or belt holster (Texas Penal Code §46.02). Also, it is always illegal to brandish a firearm in any way that might be interpreted as threatening (Texas Penal Code §42.01)
Can library staff make a user show proof that they are licensed to carry a handgun?
No. Law enforcement personnel however, have the right to request proof of a person’s license to carry a handgun.
What about library employees and volunteers? Can they be banned from carrying handguns in the library?
They can be. Libraries may prohibit their employees and volunteers from bringing handguns into the workplace and from carrying in employer-owned or leased vehicles used for work (Texas Labor Code §52.062(a)(b)). This is the case whether or not the employee is licensed to carry a handgun.
Libraries may not restrict staff who are licensed to carry a handgun from having the weapon in a locked personal vehicle in the employer’s parking lot (Texas Labor Code §52.061).
Note that the information above represents only the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s interpretation of Texas handgun-carry laws and of the 84th Legislature’s changes to the laws. You should always consult with your own legal counsel for assistance in interpreting Texas law.