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Texas' Open Carry Law & Civil Liability Issues

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Texas made national headlines earlier this year when a new law took effect on January 1st allowing licensed handgun holders in the Lone Star state to visibly carry guns on their hips or shoulders. The law will allow more than 825,000 licensed holders in Texas to openly carry their handguns in most public places and in plain sight, making Texas one of the largest states to do so. The law also give private businesses the opportunity to ban firearms in they choose.

Aside from being a striking step amid a heated national debate on gun control, the open carry law raises new legal issues and implications regarding not only safety, but also liability.

  • The new law does not give employers immunity from facing civil actions for incidents involving employees who openly carry firearms, which does exist in legislation for concealed carry licenses – with the exception of incidents involving egregious acts of negligence.
  • In the event of accidental discharges, the licensed handgun holder could be subject to criminal penalties and/or civil liability. This means that if they accidently harm another with their firearm, victims may have the right to pursue damages through a personal injury claim, depending on the circumstances.

Texas’ open carry law does expand the scope of handgun licenses, but for a variety of reasons – including the interests of business owners and the relatively small percentage of license holders compared to total state population – may not have as large an impact as one may think. Still, it does present risks to public safety, especially when negligent gun owners improperly carry their weapons or otherwise use them inappropriately.

Over time, lawmakers and the public at large will see how the law impacts safety, and what legal issues may arise. At The Daspit Law Firm, we will stay close to this issue to see how it may impact civil liability, and the rights of victims who suffer harm through no fault of their own.

If you have questions about your legal rights after suffering harm due to the actions of others, contact our firm today to speak with a lawyer about your case.

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