A new Texas law will allow private citizens to file complaints over signs improperly banning guns on state property.
Texas law prohibits the licensed concealed carry of firearms on government property in just a few places, like court and legislative hearings. Several "No Guns" signs have been placed at government locations that cannot prohibit gun carry, however. The new law allows private citizens to make official complaints about the presence of a sign they believe to be unlawfully posted on state land.
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Once the complaint is filed, the locality will have 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.
Gun rights advocates applauded the new law.
"For the first time, individual citizens can write … and ask for an explanation of why the sign is there," Texas State Rifle Association legislative director Alice Tripp told the Star-Telegram. "For some reason, governmental entities were randomly posting these signs."
"You just had to rely on cities and counties to do what the law said. There was no penalty if they didn't want to."
Former State Sen. Jerry Patterson, who helped pass the state's gun carry law 20 years ago and supports the new initiative, said the law is needed to stop localities from breaking the law.
"The goal of this is to stop people from breaking the law," Patterson told the Star-Telegram. "You are breaking the law if you falsely say something is unlawful when it’s not. Officials don't get to make up the law to fit what they think it should be."