Local businesses react to new 'Open Carry' law

Melissa Holmes Staff Writer | @LissCHolmes mholmes@theglenrosereporter.com
If you plan to openly carry a sidearm on Jan. 1 or beyond, be on the lookout for proper signage posted on the front door of a business or be prepared to be served a card with notifying of the business' desire to restrict open carry.

GLEN ROSE - The "Open Carry" law is set to go into effect Jan. 1 and many businesses are now faced with the dilemma of whether or not to allow patrons to openly carry handguns in their establishments.

Just this month, grocery giants H-E-B, Whole Foods and Safeway all stated that they would not allow licensed handgun owners to openly carry in their stores.

“As a retailer of alcohol, long guns and unlicensed guns are prohibited on our property under the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission rules," an official statement issued by H-E-B stated. "H-E-B maintains the same policy we have for years, only concealed licensed handguns are allowed on our property.”

It is unclear if local grocer Brookshire’s will follow the path of the larger grocery chains. Store manager, Jose Ritz said he hasn’t received any instruction from corporate on how to handle the matter at this time. The Reporter reached out to Brookshire’s headquarters for an answer. However, as of press time it had yet to respond.

Opting out can be a personal choice of a business and its owners but for some places it can be a matter of safety. For security purposes banks have opted out of the law.

Interbank and First Financial Bank both have notices posted on the entrances of their banks informing customers of the decision to disallow open carry. Prosperity Bank’s manager Kathy Roberts stated that “all we can do is ask them not to carry.”

Some restaurants have also taken a position on the open carry law. San-Antonio based burger chain Whataburger announced that they would also prohibit patrons from openly carrying firearms in their restaurants.

"We've had many customers and employees tell us they're uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm who is not a member of law enforcement," Whataburger CEO and President Preston Atkinson said in a statement. "As a business, we have to listen and value that feedback in the same way we value yours.”

Since local restaurant Los Primos Mexican Restaurant sells alcohol, they would prefer that their customers not open carry, so that they stay in compliance with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission.

While some business owners have made the decision to not allow visible firearms, others haven’t broached the subject yet.

Owner of Junk or Treasures and Shoo-Fly Soda Shop, Summer Redwine said she hadn’t really thought about the new law and whether or not she would opt out of it.

Dairy Queen shift leader, Karla stated that the owners haven’t informed them if they will opt out or not.

Whether they choose to allow open carry or not, private businesses and establishments have the right to ban open carry under the law.

If a Texas business would like to prohibit someone from openly carrying they have a few options of how to properly inform the public. The first is by posting signage at the entrances in English and Spanish referring to section 30.07 of the Texas Penal Code. They can also inform a person openly carrying by providing them with a card with the same information.