Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from June 11, 2016 through July 10, 2016. 

Opinion No. KP-0098 (Guns at Meetings):  Subsection 46.035(c) of the Penal Code makes it an offense to carry a handgun “in the room or rooms where a meeting of a governmental entity is held and if the meeting is an open  meeting subject to Chapter 551, Government Code” and the entity provided the requisite notice. By specifically limiting the offense to carrying a handgun in “the room or rooms,” the legislature made it clear that it did not intend to prohibit the carrying of handguns throughout an entire building but instead only in the specific room or rooms where an open meeting of a governmental entity is held.

Governmental entities should place their notices that entry with a handgun is prohibited at the entrance to the room or rooms where an open meeting is held. A governmental entity may not provide notice that excludes the carrying of handguns when the room or rooms are used for purposes other than an open meeting.

Because Subsection 46.035(c) is expressly limited to open meetings, it is not a criminal offense for individuals authorized to attend the closed meeting to carry handguns into that meeting unless the closed meeting is held in a location where handguns can be prohibited through some other provision of Sections 46.03 or 46.035.