West Orange opts to follow state law on firearms
By Tommy Mann Jr. – The Record
City leaders have opted to follow state law in prohibiting firearms in certain locations instead of creating its own resolution.
The City of West Orange recently considered the creation of its own specific ordinance regarding citizens in possession of firearms in municipal buildings, but, after a brief discussion, councilmembers opted to take no action and instead follow the lead of state regulations which are already in place.
Chief Mike Stelly of the West Orange Police Department, who also serves as the city manager, presented councilmembers with options of restricting open carry priviledges in municipal buildings, restricting carrying of firearms by concealed handgun permit holders in municipal buildings, prohibiting both or taking no action at all.
“Rules are only made for those who want to follow the rules,” said councilman Dale Dardeau. “The only people we are worried about are the ones who aren’t going to follow the rules.”
The proposed resolution stated a handgun license holder would be prohibited from carrying a handgun on premises such as a polling place on election day or while early voting is in progress, any government court or office which is utilized by the court, or a designated area which is used for public meetings subject to the open meetings act.
Also, it would be prohibited in areas which have been properly designated as required by Texas Penal Code.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, a person may carry any handgun openly or concealed, but must be licensed by Texas or a state with reciprocity in order to do so. The handgun must be carried in a shoulder or belt holster, according to state law.
Open carry of firearms is prohibited at businesses and locations which display legal restrictions signs, such as those for Section 30.06 and Section 30.07 of the penal code.
The sign, “30.07,” will ban open carry. The “30.06” sign applies to those with a concealed handgun. Both are prohibited by businesses or locations displaying both signs, which are listed in English and Spanish.
“I think the controversy we have been hearing is over the interpretation of the rules,” said Mike Shugart Sr. “It’s confusing.”
Open carry may go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, but licensed gun owners will not be able to carry openly in every location, especially schools, hospitals and medical complexes, nursing homes and many other locations which will remain gun-free zones.
Councilmember Dr. Frances Droddy-Lopez made the motion to take no action on the proposed ordinance and to follow state law on the matter. Council approved the motion by a vote of 4-1.