A privately owned zoo in Houston, Tex. may no longer violate its patrons’ civil rights and prohibit those with valid Concealed Handgun Licenses from carrying handguns on the property.
This week, The City of Houston, which owns the property, ordered the zoo to remove its “No Guns” signage, effective immediately.
Attorney Edwin Walker with Texas Law Shield, a legal services firm for gun owners, sent a demand letter to the Houston Zoo, its corporate entity and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Sept. 3 requesting that all 30.06 (guns prohibited) signs at the zoo be removed.
A 30.06 sign may be utilized by a business owner to prohibit a CHL holder from bringing a firearm into business. The signs refer to Texas Penal Code 30.06, which forbids CHL holders from bringing firearms into locales with 30.06 signs in plain sight at the entrance or a “conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.”
A new provision of Texas law, which took effect on September. 1, allows private citizens to make official complaints about the presence of “No Guns” signs they believe to be unlawfully posted on state or public land. The new law is the result of NRA-backed legislation, sponsored by State Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and State Representative Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), which passed the 2015 legislative session and was signed by Governor Abbott in June.
When a complaint is filed, the locality has 15 days determine whether the sign is in violation of the law. If the sign is in violation of the law, it must be removed. If the sign is determined to be unlawful but is not removed, the locality will face a $1,000 per day fine on its first offense and $10,000 per day on each subsequent offense.
The Zoo said it was reviewing the legal implications of the city’s request but would comply with it in the meantime.
“Effective immediately, the Houston Zoo will not ask anyone who is lawfully permitted to carry a concealed legal hand-gun (sic) to stow their weapon in their vehicle while visiting the zoo,” the administration said in a statement. “We do recognize that this has the potential to confuse or concern our guests and members and we want to emphasize that this will not alter our number-one priority, which is the safety of our guests, employees and animals.”