Houston Zoo Goes “Gun-Free” (Again) Pending Appeal to Texas AG

Houston Zoo No Gun Sign (courtesy chron.com)

“The Houston Zoo (HZI) is reinstating signs that prohibit the carry of guns into the facility, less than three months after being forced to take them down,” houston.cbslocal.com reports. HZI removed the signs when Texas Law Shield pointed out that the zoo sits on land owned by the city of Houston, a fact that rendered its “no guns” policy illegal. The zoo uses the following logic to justify its decision to re-require its visitors to leave their gets behind . . .

After consultation with legal counsel, the Houston Zoo, Inc. has concluded that Texas government code does not prohibit HZI from lawfully posting signs that ban weapons from its premises because HZI is – at its core – an educational institution ,” Wallace wrote Tuesday.

The zoo says that it is considered an educational institution, and therefore exempts it from having to legally allow gun-carriers through the gates.

“Given the mission of the zoo and the presence of hundreds of thousands of children  on its campus, it is clear that guns and zoos simply do not mix,” Wallace wrote.“Texas law recognizes that weapons are not compatible with the education of our youth and prohibits weapons at a schools and educational institutions and places where activities sponsored by schools or educational institutions take place.”

Texas Law Shield Attorney Edwin Walker disagrees: “It’s a sham.” Walker points out that the zoo doesn’t have a curriculum, accreditation, or the ability to obtain a degree at the zoo. TLS has filed a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s office. Maybe they should point out that the “gun free” sign does not conform to Texas law. Just sayin’ . . .

comments

  1. avatar pod says:

    Talk about some legal maneuvering. They really had to scrape to pull an excuse out of their ass on that one, huh?

    “Educational Institution”.

    With their logic, a strip club could claim the same. Anatomical studies or something.

    1. avatar Seth says:

      And here we all were thinking that a “zoo” was a zoo. Just goes to show you how stupid we are.

  2. avatar Mr. AR-10 says:

    Laws are very flexible things when you are a statist.

    But when applied to a conservative, there will be no bending whatsoever.

  3. Go to zoo, armed
    Get kicked out
    Sue zoo (that rhymes)
    Win lawsuit
    Donate winnings to a real conservation organization

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Donate winnings to a real conservation organization”

      The Geoff PR Firearm Educational Fund will be happy accept any and all donations.

      Except pregnant cats.

      🙂

    2. avatar Judge Johnston says:

      You left out the part about having a body cavity search at jail. Then, if not out quick enough, a little sodomy before you go home. I is the proper strategy but count me out.

  4. avatar Rad Man says:

    Zoo=School, got it. With some additional legal gymnastics my popular strip club will soon become a non-profit center for the performing arts. Look for our latest coupon in your local paper and bring your gold card for additional drink specials!

  5. avatar DaveR says:

    Ya know, it’s not the zoo that’s the problem, it’s the law.

    We settle for half-assed concealed carry laws and then complain when places attempt to exercise the option that the laws permit them to do.

    The 2A says “shall not be infringed” but most CHP laws are predicated on the idea that infringement is the default position of the law. Why do we agree to these limitations if we’re not willing to live with them?

  6. avatar txJM says:

    I’ve been to the Houston Zoo three times in the last two years. There is nothing in place that deters knowledgeable CHL holders from entering armed.

    In fact, I kind of like that it weeds out the morons who don’t know better. You know the ones: the .380 pocket carriers with 15 cumulative minutes of range time.

    1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      1. What’s wrong with pocket-carrying a .380?
      2. Those morons are also called “citizens exercising their right to keep and bear arms.” So whose side are you on, exactly?

  7. avatar JJVP says:

    “Maybe they should point out that the “gun free” sign does not conform to Texas law. Just sayin’ ”

    Actually the 30.06 sign is correct and meets all the requirements of the law, other than the fact that it is posted on a location not allowed by the law.

    1. avatar Katy says:

      For now. If I’m the powers there, I wait until Jan 1, post the new 30-06 and a 30-07.

      Even if they pull this off, the sign will be (sort of) invalid in a month and change. Of course, if they are an educational institution, they didn’t need a sign to begin with.

  8. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

    That’s some pretty lax reasoning. They are trying to say that like a school, they can prohibit guns. With that reasoning, anyplace with a bible is a church and don’t have to pay taxes then.

  9. avatar Illinois_Minion says:

    “…the presence of hundreds of thousands of children on its campus,… ” at once? Or over the course of yearS (plural)?

  10. avatar Libertarian says:

    Texas is draconic at the fine for ignoring some off places thats start white felonies as bar”s/51% sections, unlicensed carry in restaurants, racetracks and inside schools ……..

    An art of hb 308 is very needfull 2017 +HB 3884 4 knifes

    1. avatar Doug says:

      Internet-speak? I for one have no idea what any of that wold be in correct English. Could you translate for those of us with an actual education?

  11. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    These people must not have any real work to do if they sit around all day and dream of how to keep people who are 10x more law abiding than the general population from carrying weapons into their zoo. Don’t they have some monkey turds to clean up before they start throwing them at all of the “students”?

  12. avatar gsnyder says:

    The old think-of-the-children card. If you were really thinking of the safety of the children you’d want to be able to improve their chances of survival, not increase the advantages of a criminal. They hates guns and think anyone who carries is a criminal in wait.

  13. avatar SpecialK says:

    Guns and zoos don’t mix? I’ve carried in many zoos multiple times, and miraculously my Smith & Wesson never jumped out of its holster and started shooting people/pumas/pandas etc…

  14. avatar Joe says:

    …an evil petting zoo?

  15. avatar Justin Espinosa says:

    So a place that jails animals and quite frankly isn’t on the top of the entertainment food chain, thinks that we should be disarmed? Do they de-claw the Tigers before stripping them of their God given right to roam the jungles?

    Liberal idiocy strikes again.

  16. avatar BigDinVT says:

    “[T]he presence of hundreds of thousands of children on its campus….”

    All at one time? The zoo business must be booming. How can anyone see the exhibits with it being so crowded?

    “[W]eapons are not compatible with the education of our youth….”

    If they believe that to be the case then perhaps they should try some weapons education for their youth. With ‘hundreds of thousands of children’ running around, sounds like a perfect place for a predator to me.

  17. avatar Hannibal says:

    “After consultation with legal counsel, the Houston Zoo, Inc. has concluded that Texas government code does not prohibit HZI from lawfully posting signs that ban weapons from its premises because HZI is – at its core – an educational institution ,” Wallace wrote Tuesday.”

    Un-huh. I wonder if that ‘legal counsel’ will pay any awards should it’s conclusion be proven false.

    I also wonder if any public money ends up in the zoo’s coffers.

  18. avatar Laura F says:

    The fact is they can’t ban guns on their campus, and they probably keep a good old shotgun in some of there zoo buildings.. Why? Because wild animals are dangerous! If one of them got out, it’s a matter of pretty endangered tiger vs all those little kids. I’m sorry, I pack at my zoo because I’ve been behind the scenes of most of the ones in my state and know they do arm at least their employees should the animals run amok.

    1. avatar Downrangefuture says:

      Having been close enough to actually pet the tigers (not that I would, enjoying my hands as they are), I can say they keep a shotgun within arms reach of the cage. Not every keeper has the keys to the lock, but they are close enough.

      They also have dogs trained to “subdue” the large cats if need be. Big, big dogs.

      This was all when they still had the original signs up. My cousin has since left. Love of large cats and teaching only goes so far against the super-liberals that run the place.

  19. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    While Texas law doesn’t appear to define “educational institution” itself, it does refer to schools and educational institutions in the same sentence, including in listing where guns are prohibited. So I wouldn’t agree that just because a zoo is not a school per se, that zoos aren’t educational institutions and that guns are automatically allowed.

    Then again, that only speaks to exclusion, not inclusion. Furthermore, a great many entities are defined by law, each one explicitly named, as educational institutions. If the law is that specific fir that many entities, then perhaps that’s an exhaustive list. Since it doesn’t include zoos, then zoos don’t count.

    Still, we need a definition of educational institution in order to include zoos. Or not.

    Do we at least have a definition of “zoo” then? Yes, the law does define zoos explicitly and includes them in the category of charitable institutions. Houston Zoo paid memberships are tax deductible, in that vein. If a whole distinct category of charitable organizations exists, separate from schools or educational institutions, and zoos belong to it, then they cannot belong to the latter. Case closed. Or not.

    The law also forbids guns in places where school-sponsored activities are taking place. School fields trips at the zoo would qualify for that (as they would for museums, too) It’s on this point that the Zoo’s strongest argument rests, not on being an educational institution.

  20. avatar Mister Fleas says:

    “…weapons are not compatible with the education of our youth…”

    Tell that to the Israelis.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email