The open carry of firearms at airports in Texas is now lawful.
The change, enacted on
Jan. 1 pursuant to a law passed by the Texas Legislature last year, applies to
individuals who obtain a state license to openly carry a handgun in a properly
secured shoulder or belt holster. Such license holders can have their guns in
public areas of the airport. Those locations include baggage claims, ticket
counters, garages and sidewalks or walkways, according to a notice put out by
the Houston Airport System last week.
Firearms are not allowed in the
portions of Texas airports that are within TSA checkpoints.
Houston’s two commercial airports,
George Bush Intercontinental and Hobby, have posted signs informing gun owners
of the restrictions that remain in place, Houston Airport System said.
joins Nebraska as the only two states to allow open carrying of firearms in
airports, according to a 2015 analysis conducted by the Clark County Prosecutor's Office and
posted on the website of the trade organization Airports Council International
(ACI). Twenty-four states, including Texas, allow the carrying of concealed
weapons within airport terminals, according to the analysis.
The open-carry law’s implementation
comes four months after a different Texas law made it more difficult to
prosecute individuals who approach airport screening with a handgun in their
possession. That law specifies that licensed individuals can avoid arrest if they immediately leave the area upon being told about the weapon.