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Texas Laws Relating to Workplace Violence

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on May 25, 2012.

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A summary of Texas laws relating to weapons and conduct that impact workplace violence.

It is unlawful in Texas to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carry on or about the person a handgun, illegal knife or club. The prohibition does not affect persons who are:

  • on-duty members of the armed forces, state military forces or prison guards
  • on their own premises or premises under their control
  • traveling
  • lawfully hunting or fishing
  • a commissioned security guard or private investigator
  • the holder of a valid license to carry a concealed handgun of the same category as the handgun being carried
  • the holder of an alcoholic beverage permit or license or an employee of a holder of an alcoholic beverage permit, while supervising the operation of the permitted or licensed premises

Even with a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun, a person may not take the weapon:

  • on the physical premises of a school or other educational institution, any ground or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted or a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution, whether the school or educational institution is private or public, unless authorized to do so
  • on the premises of a polling place on the day of an election or while early voting is in progress
  • in any government court or offices utilized by the court, unless authorized by the court or by written regulations
  • on the premises of a racetrack
  • in the secured area of an airport

It is also unlawful for a license holder to carry a handgun on or about that person and intentionally fail to conceal the handgun or to recklessly carry the handgun, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed:

  • on the premises of a business that has an alcoholic beverage permit or license and the business derives 51 percent or more of its income from the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption
  • on premises where a high school, collegiate or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place, unless the license holder is a participant in the event and a handgun is used in the event
  • on the premises of a correctional facility
  • on the premises of a hospital or nursing home, unless authorized by the hospital or nursing home
  • in an amusement park
  • on the premises of a church, synagogue or other established place of religious worship
  • at any meeting of a governmental entity
  • while intoxicated

For purposes of this list of prohibitions, premises means a building or a portion of a building but does not include any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area.

A person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the person reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect him or herself against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful force. The person's belief that the force was immediately necessary is presumed to be reasonable if the person:

  • Knew or had reason to believe that the one against whom the force was used:
    • unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the person's occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;
    • unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the person from the person's habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or
    • was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery;
  • Did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and
  • Was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.

A person who has a right to be present at the location where the force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the force is used is not required to retreat before using force as described by this statute.

In determining whether a person reasonably believed that the use of force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the person failed to retreat.

A person is justified in using deadly force against another:

  • When and to the degree the person reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
    • to protect the person against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force; or
    • to prevent the other's imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery; and
  • If the person would be justified in using force against the other under the law.

The person's belief that the deadly force was immediately necessary is presumed to be reasonable if the person:

  • Knew or had reason to believe that the one against whom the deadly force was used:
    • unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the person's occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;
    • unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the person from the person's habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or
    • was committing or attempting to commit an offense as described by the Texas Penal Code.
  • Did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and
  • Was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.

A person who has a right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not required to retreat before using deadly force.

In determining whether a person reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the person failed to retreat.

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