Here is a communication I sent to a Hilton Hotel executive in response to an apparent new policy to prohibit Texas Concealed Handgun Licensees from bringing their defensive handguns into the hotel.
Jerry Patterson, Texas Land Commissioner
I recently picked up a member of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) from the Doubletree on 15th St in Austin and noticed the new signs announcing that concealed handguns are not permitted (the signs are silent on whether other types of firearms such as rifles and shotguns are prohibited).
I have several questions:
1. Is a firearm in a personal vehicle in your garage prohibited?
2. Since I was in my vehicle and armed when I drove up to pick up my colleagues the other night, was I in violation of your policy?
3. When you accept reservations do you inform your guests of this policy so that they are not surprised when they arrive?
4. If a guest with reservations and a firearm, and who was not aware of your new policy arrived at your hotel would you provide safe off premises storage for the weapon?
5. If there were no provisions for storage of a firearm, would you insure the guest could find other equivalent lodging in Austin even if all hotels were booked as is often the case?
6. Since most of the SBOE members stay at your hotel because they can walk to state office buildings, do you assume an additional obligation for the personal safety of guests who are disarmed by your policy and who may be victims of crime while on or off your premises, particularly while walking at night to and from meetings?
7. Do you have any concern that the signs posted on your building might attract criminal activity since criminals are likely to be attracted to a location where they believe their potential victims are unarmed? Does this obvious incentive for criminal activity create an additional liability for you if a guest is assaulted?
8. Are you aware that the signs you have posted likely do not comply with Texas Penal Code section 30.06 and therefore may not be legally sufficient to ban handguns from your property?
While a State Senator, I was the author of Texas’ concealed handgun law. There are few if any in the State of Texas who are more familiar with state and federal firearms law than I. Additionally, I have spent approximately $15,000 hosting receptions at your hotel, and have attended many others as a guest of other elected officials and the Republican party. I can reasonably state that tens of thousands of dollars of future revenue may be in jeopardy if this senseless policy remains in effect.
I recognize there is a great deal of misunderstanding about Texas firearms law, and frequently premise holders believe posting signs may be required by law in oder to achieve some desirable objective. In other words, posting these signs is not always an informed decision.
While I am not an attorney, I am more than willing to explain Texas firearms law to anyone with the Hilton Hotel corporation. I’m very qualified to do so since I authored most of the laws pertaining to carrying handguns while I was a member of the Texas legislature.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Commissioner, Texas General Land Office