HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The laws are changing again in Texas, and with the start of 2016, you might be seeing more handguns out in public. It will be legal to open carry handguns with a CHL, but you'll have to pay attention to which restaurants allow it.
“The law, while it recognizes that citizens have a right to carry their weapons openly, it also protects the private property interest of business owners,” said Chris Tritico, Fox 26 Legal Analyst.
That means, every restaurant gets to decide whether they want to allow guns on their premises. And with the new year just two weeks away, we found a trend among some restaurants. Owners of some popular Houston dining establishments are still undecided about whether they want to allow open carry.
No restaurant wanted to talk on camera, but House of Pies told Fox 26 that management is still discussing the policy and have not come to a decision yet.
It was the same with Torchy's Tacos. Their management wanted to consider all angles and had not made up their minds.
Over at Hubcap Grill, the owner also remained undecided.
But there are also restaurants that have already taken a firm stance.
Whataburger, Fuddruckers, and Pink's Pizza are a few that have said no to open carry.
Legal experts say the punishment could be steep if a licensed gun owner decides to go against a restaurant's wishes and bring it in anyway.
“If you do that, you've committed an act of trespass, and that's a class a misdemeanor in Texas. You get up to a year in county jail. You're also going to lose the right to carry the weapon,” said Tritico.
With open carry laws, as it is with concealed guns, there are strict rules around alcohol.
“A business owner who sells alcohol [as] more than 50% of their income -- no one is allowed to carry a weapon on those premises, not a concealed handgun, not an open carry so the owner can't even allow it. it's prohibited by law,” said Tritico.
Beginning in the new year, a section 30.07 sign will ban open carry. Right now, a section 30.06 sign is used to ban concealed weapons.
Businesses will need both signs to prohibit both concealed and open weapons from their property.