When it comes to carrying firearms and self defense, many gun owners know the rules better than the back of their hand.
Those with licenses to carry know where those licenses are honored outside of Texas, when to renew and how to care for the weapon.
Texas is a concealed-carry and open-carry state. License holders can carry their pistols or rifles out in the open, as long as the barrel is facing away from anyone, the safety is on and there is no round in the chamber.
They’re also able to defend themselves.
In late July, Shawn Thornton, owner of the Parakeet Consulting Group, along with Extreme Martial Arts, taught them how to defend themselves by executing moves such as restraint positions and escaping from the ground.
“We’re trying to teach them alternate means to defend themselves if attacked, without using deadly force,” Thornton said in July.
In fact, Thornton said it is the last resort.
According to the law, “Deadly Force in Defense of Person,” the force of use is justified in the cases of an intruder entering one’s home, vehicle or business, and if the intruder is trying to remove a person or people from said location.
They are also justified if the intruder is trying to murder them commit rape, sexually assault, rob, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, or aggravated kidnapping.
Aggravated means the intruder is using deadly force by using a weapon, or with an accomplice. Additionally, it means they have caused bodily harm.
People can use force or deadly force against another person if it means they are saving another’s life.
Self-defense is not allowed in cases when the person provokes the incident or if they’re engaged in criminal activity.
They must not respond to verbal provocations — like road rage incidents.
To carry or not
Beyond deadly force comes when and where to carry.
“LTC holders must honor the 30.06 and 30.07,” said Lieutenant Mike Smith, with the Comal County Sheriff’s Department. “If they shoot an innocent party, they are subject to criminal charges depending on the nature of the injuries.”
Both 30.06 and 30.07 deal with where a person can carry.
There is one difference: 30.07 deals with open carry, while 30.06 deals with concealed carry.
If people see the former sign, they cannot openly carry in an establishment. If people see the latter, it means that business or property owners do not want to have guns carried in their establishment.
Some businesses prohibit carrying of any kind, while others only prohibit those who are unlicensed.
While Texas is an open carry state, businesses, churches, and other organizations have the right to inform their clients or members that they do not allow weapons on their premises. They must post a sign or verbally tell them.
If a business sells alcohol, they are required to post a sign. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission requires businesses to post one of two signs. If alcohol sales are less than 50% use of their total sales then they must post a sign saying a person cannot have an unlicensed possession of a firearm.
If alcohol sales consist of 51% or more, then businesses must post a sign stating a concealed weapon is forbidden.
While the second amendment and the state of Texas allows people to carry, officials say license holders must know when to use force, and remember that other people, such as business owners, have rights as well.
For more information on handgun laws, visit www.dps.texas.gov/RSD/LTC/index.htm.