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A TTAG reader writes:

I was having a conversation with a member of the Houston Police Department about the impact of an improper 30.06 sign (although, this could be about any state that has proscribed signage requirements). My point was that if the sign is correct, he can arrest immediately, but if the sign is incorrect it’s no different than no sign and the carrier must be given notice before an arrest can be made. He advised me that even if the sign is improper, including a handwritten note on a sheet of paper, he would immediately arrest a person carrying on premises for trespassing . . .

Only if there is no sign would he give notice before making an arrest, or as he put it, “you can beat the rap but you won’t beat the ride.”
How do you respond to his comment? What recourse do you have if arrested in the improper signage case? If that outlook is broadly held, how does it impact your decision to carry in improper-notice buildings?

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  1. More often than not, I don’t go in.

    I don’t have to spend money in places that have this attitude, so I usually don’t.

    There are exceptions, of course, like when I have an appointment at the VA hospital, then it
    gets locked in my truck…

    • “More often than not, I don’t go in”

      Well, except some of favorite restaurants. Ruger LCR .38 P+, very compact revolver, pocket carry.

  2. If that outlook is broadly held, how does it impact your decision to carry in improper-notice buildings?

    It doesn’t. They get ignored equally.

  3. If he can and will arrest without notice when signs are improperly displayed, or even just hand-written, then what’s the point of the law as it’s written? This cop sounds like he has an “I am the LAW!” attitude.

    • That’s exactly what I first thought.
      And I’m sure the local DA would conveniently overlook an improper sign and helpfully offer a plea bargain before the person being arrested can fight it in court. That way a conviction can still be secured and fines paid, regardless.

      • In Texas here. Since the cop said he would accept a handwritten piece of paper, would he also arrest if a concealed/open carrier (come January) walked past a gunbuster sign (No force of law in Texas)? If so, he, and possibly his department if that is their view, need training on the law.
        But, if does proceed to falsely arrest an open carrier next year, I’m sure their will be a great lawsuit, and someone is going to win a big payday, hopefully with the HPD getting reeducated in the process.
        And I don’t spend my money where an attempt at 30.06/30.07 is made.
        Also, arrests with no ground for arrests should be dropped from one’s record when that fact is proven.

      • It generally plays out like this: cop arrest you, puts you in the holding process (2-4 hours). Prosecutor reads affidavit from cop, briefly investigates, finds out that the cop made an error, looks for other potential charges, can’t find any, declines to file charges, you go home. You’re pissed off and feel like you should sue the cop, the department, and the prosecutor. You call your buddy the lawyer who then explains that because of qualified immunity, you’re SOL. Game over.

        So, is being correct worth the 1-day stretch and the subsequent minor hassle or is it preferable to just avoid the circumstances all together?

        • Except, now you have an arrest on your record; that you have to declare on a civilian or gov’t job application and deal with the hassles if you’re ever stopped again…. Get them to expunge the arrest from your record, since it was a BS arrest anyway. I don’t know if they can do that, but I would research and find out if it can be done.

        • …except here we have a cop who didn’t make a mistake. This is knowing the law, and ignoring it to make a false arrest.

        • This is where social; media and other sources can help. Get the word out including the names of the officer and prosecutor. If this happens a few times, a pattern can be established showing they DID know that law and chose to violate your rights and abuse their authority. Wipes out the qualified immunity defense.

    • That’s what I noticed too…. Arresting me for doing something not illegal to do? I may ‘beat the rap’ but this officer is putting his municipality on the line for potential lawsuits.

      You are a cop, it is your job to know the laws you enforce. It is *not* your job to arrest them all and let the judges sort it out later.

        • It’s attitude of cops like this that causes such animosity towards the police.

          If the 30.06 and 30.07 is wrong because the letters are 7/8″ high instead of 1″, or the spelling of some words are wrong, the sign should have the force of law, because you can clearly see the intent of the business owner to comply with the law.

          But a gun buster sign, or a “No guns” written on toilet paper shows no such intent to comply with the “adequate notice” part of the law.

          A cop should by all means arrest in the first circumstance and let the judge decide the technicality of the law, but in the second, a verbal notice should be necessary before arrest.

          A lazy cop gets no sympathy from me. If you’re not going to do the job right, get another job.

        • “If the 30.06 and 30.07 is wrong because the letters are 7/8″ high instead of 1″, or the spelling of some words are wrong, the sign should have the force of law, because you can clearly see the intent of the business owner to comply with the law.”

          The sign should absolutely not have the force of law. The intent of the business owner is irrelevant. The intent of (and complying with) the law is what matters. The law’s intent is obvious from the non-ambiguous, plain-English text of the statute: the letters must be “at least one inch in height” and the sign must include “language identical to” that specified in 30.06 (b)(3)(A).

          An offense is only committed if the license holder has received oral or written communication (I’ll presume that no oral communication was given) and enters / remains on the property anyway. “Written communication” is clearly defined. A sign that doesn’t meet the statute’s definition of “written communication” is NOT “written communication”. Thus, the license holder has not received the required written communication and has not committed an offense. Absent an offense, there is absolutely no reason for a cop to arrest the license holder.

        • “If the 30.06 and 30.07 is wrong because the letters are 7/8″ high instead of 1″, or the spelling of some words are wrong, the sign should have the force of law, because you can clearly see the intent of the business owner to comply with the law.”

          If the barrel is illegal because it’s 16.5″ long instead of 17″ long, because I forgot to allow for the thread length when I was cutting it down and I can’t add the metal back, it should still be legal, because you can clearly see my intent to obey the law.

          How’s that work for you?

        • “the sign must include ‘language identical to’ that specified in 30.06 (b)(3)(A).”


          30.06 (c)(3)(A)

    • As I read it, he would arrest you for trespassing not violating the 30-06 sign. I believe their is a significant difference in penalty.

      • 30.06 is “Trespassing with a weapon” or something like that… IIRC. Too lazy to actually look it up myself right now though.

      • I can see how you get that interpretation:

        “He advised me that even if the sign is improper, including a handwritten note on a sheet of paper, he would immediately arrest a person carrying on premises for trespassing”

        But, on what grounds would he arrest a person for trespassing? The person has entered a private business that is generally open to the public (i.e. a privately-owned place of public accommodation). The person has not been told, prior to entering the property and in a manner complying with Texas statutes, that he may not enter. Thus, the person is not trespassing.

        I wonder if, had the business posted a “Whites Only” sign, the officer would arrest Asians and blacks for trespassing as they entered. A “Whites Only” sign has exactly the same legal force as a “no concealed handguns” sign that does not comply with 30.06. That is, none at all.

      • However, I read “trespassing” as violating 30.06, whose title is “TRESPASS BY HOLDER OF LICENSE TO CARRY CONCEALED HANDGUN”.

    • Officers with this type of attitude “I’m just gonna arrest you anyway” just further supports the notion that officers are trained early and often that the way to move up (in rank and favor of C.O.’s) are by making arrests. It’s a metric the top brass use to show the public and the mayors office that they’re actually doing something good. And if you’ve ever had the “pleasure” of being within earshot of a group of cop’s jaw-jackin’ it’s always about the latest gossip and/or who’s studying for their Sargent test and the like. Everyone seems preoccupied by the rat race, ladder climbing and who got to fire their weapon in the line of duty. Oh and btw, they are trained to always shoot the dogs in the name of “officer safety”!
      Don’t get me wrong, police are critically important in our society, however, if you’re going to have a high level of authority then the job is going to and is supposed to be hard. When you make it “easier” it means you do it at the cost of peoples rights.

      I wonder, would this officers attitude be changed if he was subjected to a personal lawsuit?

      • ‘…police are critically important in our society…’

        Personally I’m of the opinion that the importance of police is highly overrated. Without police, everyone would arm themselves and since there are a lot more decent people than bad people the criminals would be outnumbered and outgunned. Up until 150 years ago we never even considered the concept of modern policing.

        • yes I can see your argument but it does reminds me of similar arguments made by anarchists. I’m not calling you an anarchist just simply pointing out a similarity. I’ve wondered how compatible your idea would be in today’s society. I suspect there would be a learning curve for things to normalize and undo all the anti-gun efforts that’s been programmed into the masses. My father told me about when he was a kid they’d take long-guns to school and how they’d run around the neighborhood hunting for rabbits.

        • It appears modern law enforcement organizations are just “jobs for the boys” schemes now, with the added benefit of fines and asset forfeitures being a revenue stream for the government.

        • I’m a small government guy. I think we have too many inane laws (and regulations) and too many undertrained and undereducated soldiers (cops) enforcing them. Generally, anarchists have always been communists wishing to tear down the system to rebuild it in their Marxist ideal. Their ultimate goal is more government, more laws, more rules and more cops to keep us unwashed masses in line.

    • The cop would be legally and morally in the wrong for arresting you even though you’re not violating any law (in states where signs have force of law BUT must also be formatted properly, and in this case, the sign isn’t). He might (depending on jurisdiction) have justification if you are asked to leave and refuse to do so; that’s ordinary trespass at that point.

      However, just because the cop is in the wrong, doesn’t mean the gun carrier is lilly white and without blame. If you see the sign and disregard it, you’re disregarding the propery owner’s wishes. It might not be jailable as such, but it’s still morally wrong.

      • If you see the sign and disregard it, you’re disregarding the propery owner’s wishes. It might not be jailable as such, but it’s still morally wrong.

        Under what standard of morality?

        When I walk into Buffalo Wild Wings to pick up a carry-out order, my conscience is perfectly clear when I disregard their “firearms are strictly prohibited” plastered on the door.

        • Interestingly, our BWW only has a buster sign at the main entrance and not at the carry-out door. Of course, in my state the sign means nothing and is only a polite request that everyone ignores.

          • The same is true here in Indiana.

            When I lived in Ohio, I went elsewhere. Even if a law is unconstitutional, I still chose not to break it – especially given the potential risks of doing so.

      • He might (depending on jurisdiction) have justification if you are asked to leave and refuse to do so; that’s ordinary trespass at that point.

        I acknowledge that you said “depending on jurisdiction”, but, given the O.P.’s starting point of a sign that doesn’t comply with 30.06…

        Under Texas’ 30.06 statute, you may not enter or remain if you have received either oral or written communication that entering or remaining with a concealed handgun is forbidden. Not leaving when orally told that you can’t have your concealed handgun there is the same offense as entering when a compliant 30.06 sign is posted. In both cases, you’ve committed the offense of “TRESPASS BY HOLDER OF LICENSE TO CARRY CONCEALED HANDGUN” (the title of the 30.06 statute).

  4. It depends. If its a place like the VA, I oblige but if its a place that wants to infringe upon my rights to self defense without assuming responsibility for my safety then I carry on..

    • Do you really think the VA (or any other place for that matter) are taking ANY responsibility for your safety?

      • I can tell you that the VA takes no responsibility for your safety. check out the Martinsburg VA medical center in WV. the guard shack to enter the compound has a sign for when it is not staffed that says don’t stop and from there you have access to just about everything there. so the first line of defense is a piece of cardboard.

        Respectfully Submitted

  5. “you can beat the rap but you won’t beat the ride.”

    In other words, “I don’t care what the law says, I’ll do what the f*** I want.” No wonder people don’t like cops.

    • Yes, but I blame the lawyers first. Cops should not be doing this, but we created a system where it becomes unavoidable. In our litigious society, nobody wants to be responsible for anything that could potentially go wrong, no matter how small a chance of that happening or if rights get abused. It’s therefore much easier to arrest somebody “just in case” and release them later. It’s like the ridiculous ‘zero tolerance’ policy we have in schools for kids. It’s the same thing but for adults. Well, we used to be treated like adults with rights. No mas. Nobody cares these days if they get abused, as long as people feel safe.

    • Talk about “contempt of cop”; what about contempt for the constitution and general rule of law? It is far past due that we start a LEO qualification standard across the country. Any ignorance or abuse of the law during training & evaluation should be grounds for permanent disqualification for being anything more than an unarmed security guard. Until then, any kind of similar behavior should be grounds for dismissal. You can’t “re-train” a bad cop to respect the constitution after knowingly disregarding it as standard procedure.

    • Yeah this is the type of attitude that results in the populace turning against coppers. I’ll bet this one would also shoot first and ask questions later. It only takes a few to spoil the barrel.

  6. Perhaps the legislature needs to put some teeth into the law. Police should be penalized with personal financial repercussions and get a black mark on their record for arresting someone ‘for the ride’ when they know the person didn’t break the law.

    • Remember the term repeated in many of these instances. Qualified Immunity. Until this is eliminated, nothing will change.

  7. Concealed is concealed, the only way a cop will find out I’m carrying is if I am involved in a gunfight, in which case that sign is the least of my worries. I didn’t see the sign, actually, and I want a jury trial, and I want it tomorrow. ie, “speedy”, as guaranteed. Interesting to note a lot of his bluster consists of promising to waste your time, since I am retired maybe he’ll eventually get tired of wasting his own.

    • Yeah, good luck on that “speedy” part. You can demand a trial date all you want, but it’s decided by the DA’s office and the date will be reset multiple times before the trial actually happens – sometimes with as little as 24 hours’ notice before the now-invalid trial date. When the DA’s office knows it has a weak case, you can count on the trial date being delayed for up to two years or more, which is used as a tactic to encourage you to accept a plea deal that’s heavily unfavorable to you rather than them going to trial and losing. But, since the law puts no time limit on what qualifies as a “speedy” trial, you have no recourse because they can claim it’s as “speedy” as they’re able to provide.

      • Not true. Yes this happens, but only if the defendant has waived his right to a speedy trial. If no waiver, the DA’s only option is to dismiss without prejudice and refile. And the courts have only so much tolerance for such shenanigans, especially if it is an infraction or a misdemeanor.

        • Not true? Oh, good – then I guess that didn’t happen to me a couple of years ago then. What a relief!

          And no, nothing was waived. The DA’s office not only repeatedly filed for reset multiple times over two years, they also refused to comply with the Judge’s orders on a couple of occasions – and still they were not penalized in any way. Once it went to trial, the jury took all of fifteen minutes to find in my favor – but the whole process ate up two years of my life and all I got for it was an arrest record.

      • “since the law puts no time limit on what qualifies as a ‘speedy’ trial”

        Unless, perhaps, it’s a Federal case. 1974’s “Speedy Trial Act” generally requires that indictment be within 30 days of arrest and the trial start within 70 days of indictment.

      • Depends. There are judges in some jurisdictions that hate the prosecuting office for delaying justice for “just because” reasons the judge surmises as bogus. Get a motion in front of one of them for a nuisance case of this type and you’ll get a speedy trial or likely the prosecutor folding. Judges give them one delay as they are now on notice to proceed. Some judges will continue indefinitely to suit the prosecution.

    • Depending on where you are you might not want a jury trial. A judge is more likely to back you on technical grounds.

      • Do this only if you know the judge’s stance on the issues. The last thing you’d want is a crusading anti-gun judge being the one who decides the outcome on this.

  8. That specific sign you showed is a pretty terrible one. However I would probably not carry in if they made an attempt at 30.06 even if they screwed it up. I don’t really feel like carrying a ruler around to measure every sign I see, etc.

    • You should avoid such establishments anyway, if possible. Regardless of how legally-binding the signage is, any kind of “no guns” sign tells me that the business doesn’t respect me or my rights. Therefore, they don’t get my money.

  9. “you can beat the rap but you won’t beat the ride.”

    Sounds like a premeditated false arrest/imprisonment case would be a slam dunk for any lawyer.

  10. Post his name and department so that when he does this, there is evidence suggesting that he knew what he did was unlawful? It would sure be nice for the prosecution in a civil suit considering legal fees would be paid unless he’s a state trooper.

    • The sign pictured isn’t the one that led to this question, it was the standard white appliqué on glass, but in 3/4″ instead of 1″.

      As a bit of background, as a security measure, my company has a member of HPD stationed in our lobby. Watch this space, though. Next time I see him I’ll make sure to get his name and will post it here. The related story is factual and I stand behind it as a true representation of the conversation – I have no problem calling out the specific officer.

      If it says anything about HPD, I spoken with another member of the department about concealed carry – his view is that holsters and trigger guards are for weenies (my paraphrasing here). When he conceals, it’s just tucked into the waistband or pocket (sans holster). Sometimes I wonder about Houston…

      • “Watch this space, though. Next time I see him I’ll make sure to get his name and will post it here.”

        Do you expect any backlash from your employer for pointing this out?

        • Pointing out the cop or pointing out the improper signage?

          I’ve been pushing hard for the signage – if I can’t carry per the employment agreement, I’d rather visitors be (nominally) unarmed as well. I had our company’s contact with our landlord with me to show that the sign was non-compliant. She wanted me to let the short letters slide, and was with me when we were talking to the cop.

          I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve seen that particular cop at our building before, so I don’t know when I’ll see him again. But, I’m not sure what blowback I could expect to receive if I name him out here. I haven’t named our company and won’t. They aren’t on our payroll, so any misuse of authority reflects on HPD, not us.

          Now that I think about it, I do have one last ace I can play – our labor lawyer. She and I had a nice chat a while back about weapons in the parking garage. HR and facilities/security were giving out bad info – no guns there – and so we had a conference call with them to make TX law on that clear. I suspect the same may have to happen again.

        • “Pointing out the cop or pointing out the improper signage?”

          The improper signage, actually.

          The rest of your comment sounds logical to me…

  11. I generally am a rules-driven person – I try to follow the law, workplace rules, etc, as best I can.

    I likewise expect and demand that those charged with enforcing the law, also follow it. This is why, for instance, I find speeding police cars very irritating.

    In this case I have a real problem with the cop’s attitude. If our legal system was consistent in taking intent into account, then I might not. As it is, the law spells out clear signage requirements and while the intent is there, the actuality is a non-binding sign. So here, I think the officer is setting himself and his department up for lawsuits: premeditated, wilful false arrest and wrongful detention.

  12. One thing no has considered, the officer in question may be relating his departments policy. There are some informal policies that are stated but never written. I have some friends that wear the badge and they are mostly like the rest of us in believing in the 2A. Some departments put in CYA policies and let the DA sort it out.

    • It would be good to know which it was, but.

      Individual or departmental, it’s still a self-performed elevation above the law and equally unacceptable, I’d say.

      And as you might guess from my post above, I also have a real problem with unwritten but queationable policies that everybody just is supposed to “understand and follow.” Otherwise known as a good way for the bosses to avoid blame when something goes wrong.

  13. Police officers are often times woefully trained on the details of the law. That said, I have no interest in winning my case in court when I can avoid having a case at all. The financial, emotional, and other consequences of challenging Officer Notosfriendly in his office (on the street) just aren’t worth it. Now, if it comes to a legal battle and my hand is forced, then the officer deserves no simpathy if I opt for an IA complaint followed by a false arrest and section 1983 suit.

  14. What this police officer said is unprofessional, and if identified, it will give lawyers a lot of ammunition to charge the officer with false arrest and overturn convictions. His statement opens the door for a lawsuit against his department should he act on this statement. Sure, the political wind may blow his way in his area of the country today, but it won’t always be that way. Me, if he arrested me without justification, I would sue, and I would ask my attorney to argue in court to remove any obstacle that would prevent me from suing him personally.

    • Bob102,

      Keep in mind that Officer Free Ride did not state his personal position on an audio recording. Along the same lines, there is no written record (admissible in court) of Officer Free Ride’s personal position, either. For those two reasons, there is no evidence (admissible in court) of Officer Free Ride’s personal position. That puts a damper on any efforts to sue or prosecute Officer Free Ride.

      • Not so much. The hearsay rule has a “statement against interests” exception. For example. If you’re arrested after a bank robbery, they can subpoena your “friend” who heard you say “I’m going to go bank robbing next week.”

        (3) Statement Against Interest. A statement that:

        (A) a reasonable person in the declarant’s position would have made only if the person believed it to be true because, when made, it was so contrary to the declarant’s proprietary or pecuniary interest or had so great a tendency to invalidate the declarant’s claim against someone else or to expose the declarant to civil or criminal liability; and

        (B) is supported by corroborating circumstances that clearly indicate its trustworthiness, if it is offered in a criminal case as one that tends to expose the declarant to criminal liability.

    • ^This. The police know full well that the process is the punishment. This officer’s statement is proof. A$$hole. However, if there is a sign, then you can’t carry. If you do you risk the consequences when caught which might start with a cop like this.

  15. My response to that comment: “Sign me up for that pay day!”

    I wouldn’t mind a few bucks for the hassle of being wrongly arrested. Seems pretty clear cut; if the law requires a particular sign meeting particular requirements to carry the force of law then a sign not meetings those requirements doesn’t meet the statute.

  16. I had a cop threaten me once when I was standing on a curb watching an arrest. He yelled profanity to me and told me to leave the scene. I said no. He came over, got in my face, repeated his threat (didn’t like I offered him a tic-tac) and got more hostile. I asked what law or ordinance I was violating. He was dumbfounded and threatened to arrest me. I smiled and told him I was an attorney and I would actually enjoy the experience since this was the precursor to my eventual wrongful arrest lawsuit and cash settlement I would be using to buy my Porsche 911 with. He yelled “F**k you” and stormed back to assist with the arrest.

    look – let the cops be d**k heads. sue and collect $$. Eventually, a municipality will get tired of writing checks. Just don’t do anything to give them an opportunity (resist arrest, swear, insult them) and make sure you have a clean background (no record, no outstanding tix or financial problems, attend religious services, etc) so when they dig into your background, it makes sense to settle.

    • “Eventually, a municipality will get tired of writing checks.”

      Unfortunately, I don’t see politicians caring as long as it’s the taxpayer’s money.

    • Eventually, a municipality will get tired of writing checks.

      Maybe, but NYC has paid out about $1.5 billion for civilian complaints over the last 15 years and they still haven’t gotten tired of writing checks.

      BTW, a good friend — also a lawyer who at the time was Policy Adviser to the Governor — was stopped for the horrible crime of Driving While Black. When he showed his bona fides and then questioned the cop, Officer Friendly sheepishly admitted that he’d stopped my friend for DWB late at night in a new BMW through a “nice” neighborhood (where my friend lived). The officer’s candor was the only reason why he kept his job. I wouldn’t have been so nice.

  17. Wow I almost posted some smug comment on how people were misinterpreting the cop’s comment. Turns out it was my reading comprehension fail. Always check your assumptions.

    To answer the question, I think I’d avoid any business that doesn’t want my presence. I mean especially if they post a sign saying they don’t want me there.

  18. Nope-no gun but I always carry a pepper blaster and a knife. Except in a court where I might be searched(or federal building). And I don’t give a rat’s azz about anyones opinion…

    • A plaintiff in a 1983 case must assert the violation or deprivation under color of state law of a right secured by federal law. A violation of a state law right is not subject to 1983. There are other elements, making Sec. 1983 cases a bitch to maintain.

  19. “How do you respond to his comment?”

    At the risk of it being an express pass to the county jail, I’d respond with something along the lines of “Well, if you need to arrest me, I guess we’ll probably see each other in court. My evidence will be the penal code of this state. Besides your non-credible testimony, what will the DA use for evidence?”

    “What recourse do you have if arrested in the improper signage case?”

    A lawyer who graduated no lower than the top 87% of his class?

    “If that outlook is broadly held, how does it impact your decision to carry in improper-notice buildings?”

    Well, since signage has no force of law in my state, I generally ignore (and don’t even look for) signs.

    However, if I lived in a place like Texas, I’d only pay attention to signs that conformed to the letter of the law. In Texas, I’d carry a copy of the 30.06 statute on a little plastic card in my wallet, with markings for measuring printed on it.

  20. “How do you respond to his comment?”

    Sounds like tough talk from someone with no concept of the future and his place in it.

  21. Cops wonder why they get no respect, its because they themselves do not respect the law but make it up as they go along and often do not even understand the law themselves.

  22. “What recourse do you have if arrested in the improper signage case?”

    Unless I’m mistaken (and I’m not a Texas resident, *yet*), is this not an open invitation to chum the waters for a civil rights suit?

    It seems to me that the retired or unemployed (those willing to spend a little time in lockup) would be ideal examples for pro-2A minded lawyers to set up a specialized law firm (perhaps as side work from their regular jobs) to ram those through the courts on a percentage basis.

    I’d *love* to see Austin get hit with a bunch of these things.

    Or am I missing something obvious here?

    • False arrest / false imprisonment cases are difficult to establish against police. In most cases involving the unlawful detention of lawful carriers, towns choose to settle for chump change, maybe $10K or $20K, and the victim takes the offer. The litigation cost for either side usually exceeds the case value and the outcome for the victim is iffy, which is why the municipalities and victims typically settle cheaply.

      The equation changes dramatically when victims are physically harmed by being beaten or shot by the po-po. That’s like Double Jeopardy where the scores can really mount up. But who would volunteer for a beating or a shooting?

      • 30 percent of $10K or $20K is 3-6 thou. It’s not big, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either.

        Sounds like a way for an up-n-comer lawyer to make some side money.

        We had one of those type (somewhat similar) cases here a few months back. Young woman was stopped and ordered to shake out her bra in a search for drugs (none were found).

        Her payout was 25K.

        Hey, it’s something for bored lawyers to consider for extra ‘Ashley Madison’ money..

      • I agree with Geoff. $20,000 here, $20,000 there, and pretty soon we’re talking about serious money. You take a city like Houston suburb League City, TX (which has the highest per capita CHL rate in the state). L.C. has a population of about 90,000 and an annual budget of roughly $171,000,000.

        That sounds like a lot of money, but with such cities it isn’t uncommon to have outstanding debt burdens of some 150% of the annual budgets, adding another 10% or more annual budget to that debt load. 20 grand here and there, plus outside counsel costs, can seriously impact a city’s finances. And that’s a larger suburb.

        Take a look at tiny Jacinto City on the east side of Houston. Population of about 10,000 and a budget of maybe $5 million? I probably own more firearms than their P.D. does. $20K to them is a lot of money, especially if the settlement prompts repeat run-ins with overzealous, under-educated officers, and begets a civil rights lawsuit.

        The best route for these cities is to accept the law of the land, as written, quit violating people’s human rights, and move on with the business of municipal management.

  23. First question: was the anonymous Houston Police Department officer threatening to arrest for violation of .30-06 sign? If for violation of a .30-06 sign which is not actually a .30-06 sign (because the actual sign did not meet the legal definition of a .30-06 sign), I would be happy to get that payday for false arrest and imprisonment.

    Second question: was the anonymous Houston Police Department officer threatening to arrest for simple trespass? If so, does Texas law empower the police to arrest someone for trespass in those circumstances? What evidence is there that the guest entered through the door with the alleged signage? (Was another entrance available without the signage?) What evidence is there that the guest saw and read that signage before entering? What evidence is there that the signage was in place before the guest entered the property?

    Regarding the matter of simple trespass, I have a hard time believing that police will arrest some guest because a property owner put up some sign somewhere without any evidence that the guest willfully violated the owner’s wishes.

  24. So, I’ll repeat myself from the ATF post: since this is an LEO with authority from the State, then his statement that he would arrest someone without statutory authority to do so, absolutely constitutes deprivation of rights under color of law.

  25. It isn’t just guns. People are arrested for trespass based on improper or illegible trespass signs, for hunting on improperly spaces posted no hunting signs etc.

    Essentially you affirmative defense in court

  26. Pro tip:

    Don’t read signs on doors when entering a business!

    If a business has multiple doors, look for a door without any signs. If all doors have signs, look away from the door while you are within reading range of the sign and don’t look forward until after you have cleared the door. As silly as this may sound, you can honestly say that you never read any sign before entering. And, more importantly, the business’ surveillance cameras (assuming they have them) will corroborate your claim that you never read any signs. In other words you are not actually trespassing until the property owner tells you face-to-face to leave!

    • Texas Penal Code 30.05b (Criminal Trespass):

      “Notice” means:
      (C) a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden . . .

      30.06 specifies the content and physical attributes of the sign.

  27. I respect the law of the land. I respect the bill of rights. I understand what “bearing” an arm means. I understand “shall”, “not”, and the word “infringed”. I respect that there are only two ways to break a law, commit a crime against property, or commit a crime against a person… I think I respect the law a lot more than most people.

    • Careful, someone might accuse you of being one of those Sovereign Citizen types. Citing Natural law, and showing statutory law for the BS that it is tends to rustle a lot of Jimmies.

  28. In Houston there are very few places that have signs. I usually don’t spend money in stores that are posted.
    There is one store in Houston “Sprouts ” that is posted with the correct signs but they are on the automatic doors.
    This store is an easy stop on my way home from work. I have been shopping there for about 2 years and just noticed the signs about a month ago. I still go there and don’t worry. I think I could go in with a Bazooka in my pants and no one would notice. Also the general population is basically clueless.

  29. I understand that “the sign pictured isn’t the one that led to this question” (Katy’s post above), but are those 8.5″ x 11″ pieces of paper? If so, I’d almost certainly ignore them. There’s no way they comply with the “letters at least one inch in height” requirement of the 30.06 statute.

  30. Dan, my question is how did YOU respond to that comment? I hope you told the officer his statement was disgraceful.

  31. Remember cops don’t have to know the law, judges give them a free pass if they misconstrued it during a stop.

    We have to be legal experts since ignorance of the law is no excuse.

  32. The Federal Government isnt the Law.
    The Cops arent the Law.
    I am the Law.
    (Thats why juries decide the fate of the accused in court. Not some paper.)
    So yes. I am a stickler for the law.

  33. When I lived in Virginia I ignored the sign since it was not legally binding until you refused a request to leave the premises. Since moving to Wisconsin I abide by the sign since a violation carries a $1000 fine. I generally only o to those places when I absolutely have to.

  34. For guys who carry the power of arrest and possible lethal force, there seems to be an increasing preponderance of law enforcement officers with a diminished capacity for the most rudimentary levels of deductive analysis.

    It’s as though acting as an automaton is the preference. Our rule of law is influenced by what is considered “reasonable” in many aspects, yet we now witness more law enforcement officers acting in the most unreasonable ways.

    I’m not anti-cop, but recent behaviors, the militarization of police forces, and a clear absence of objective self analysis regarding attitudes and actions is cause for concern, particularly the glaring lack of peer accountability.

    So, I’m not buying any “letter of the law” arguments that usurp the moral high ground. If guys like this were doing their job by the letter they would spend their entire day rounding up most of our elected officials and a few rogue cops. All hat, no cattle.

    • “It’s as though acting as an automaton is the preference.”

      Bingo. The people who do the hiring like Myrmidons.

      It’s not that cops are crap. It’s that crap is hand picked for the job by much larger turds.

  35. In cases like this I remember the young lady in Texas who went into the restaurant with her parents, and obeyed the law and left her gun in her car. Result: a madman killed both her parents. In retrospect she should have either stayed out of the restaurant (probably not practicable because most have those ban signs or simply broke the stupid law.

  36. does that mean I can make my own speed limit signs in the neighborhood and the cop will enforce those too? I kinda like the thought of posting 22 1/2 MPH limit signs. In crayon. On cardboard. Officer “I don’t care what the law is” , come do your duty.

  37. exactly as others have stated, this ass hat of an officer doesn’t get to make up his own version of the law. so i would let him arrest me, then sue the department. its that simple.

  38. The other day I carried into Costco, no signs posted and concealed means concealed, so I didn’t sweat it. Apparently I should have read the membership agreement more closely (at all), then I would have known they despise my right to defend myself.

  39. When us proles do this type of thing it’s called “unlawful imprisonment” and it’s a felony. Shouldn’t we hold those charged with law enforcement to a higher standard?
    Private property is private and if asked to leave I would immediately do so without argument otherwise it IS trespassing. Automatic arrest seems quite illegal.


  40. Maybe someone has already stated/asked this but I wonder if he would even bother talking to the owner/manager of the establishment? If not I can see some people that like the idea of SWATing gun owners/carriers by slapping a homemade sign on the door that they pulled out of their purse/wallet and calling the cops because “I saw him/her go in the store with a gun and there was a sign and everything.”

  41. There are basically three types of cops:

    1. The intellectual officer who uses his brain, studies the law and investigative procedure, and views his job as his profession. He enjoys beating defense attorneys in court by knowing the law better than they do and following it to a “t.” He has read the Constitution and actually cares about the oath he took to uphold it.

    2. The linebacker whose job it is to chase, tackle, and subdue the suspect. He is a mindless raging hulk who can repeat simple phrases like “cleared by arrest,” “furtive movement,” and “officer safety” without actually understanding what they mean within the law. He cannot be reasoned with, the only thing that matters to him is that he gets his way. E.g.: You might beat the rap but you won’t beat the ride.

    3. Brass. Formerly either type 1 or type 2. Made friends with the right people in the department and got promoted. Now a politician with a badge. Mostly concerned with looking good to his boss and keeping his position. Don’t get me started.

    If you know which type you are dealing with, you can have some success by talking to them. Unless they are type 2. This guy was obviously type 2.

  42. I’d be disinclined to acquiesce to the arrest request. If the business owner didn’t know the law, I wouldn’t enforce a law from an improper sign. We already have way too damn many signs and laws as it is, I’m not looking to enforce more.

  43. Would he make an immediate arrest on someone with no shirt/no shoes sign? Probably not, thus your Your cop buddy is an anti-gun idiot.

    This is why we have the signs, to make sure we know owner intent.

    If Brady Bunch Clown puts a handwritten “No Guns Allowed” sign on the door to a gun range, is he going to go in and arrest everyone?

    Stupid cops are stupid, and we can not seem to get rid of them.

  44. I don’t spend my money with establishments who hate and destroy basic human rights.

    I’ll be the bigger man and respect their rights. By going somewhere else that isn’t evil.

  45. Under Texas law if someone enters or remains on someones property after receiving notice that entry was forbidden then they have committed criminal trespass. Texas Penal Code 30.05. But there is a defense to prosecution that:
    the basis on which entry on the property or land or in the building was forbidden is that entry with a handgun was forbidden; and
    (2) the person was carrying a concealed handgun and a license issued under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, to carry a concealed handgun.

    They can not arrest for 30.06 (trespass by license holder) because someone did not have the proper 30.06 sign, but they can arrest for 30.05 (trespass).

    Even though the cop was correct that he can legally arrest, it does not make it right.

    There are two kinds of LEO in this country. Berney Fifes and Andy Taylors. Can you guess which one this HPD cop is?

  46. A good rule of thumb in Houston. Everything is illegal in Houston even when it’s not. HPD officers arrest people and let the courts figure it out.

  47. A modest proposal . . . .

    (1). Some August person or organization should request a Tx AG Opinion letter on whether a Texas peace officer deliberately ignoring the language of 30.06/30.07 (which unambiguously requires that the notice be EXACTLY as set forth in the statute) and arresting a licensed carrier based on an obviously noncompliant sign violates settled law, such that no qualified immunity will attach to such an arrest. (Given the political climate in Texas for statewide officeholders, it’s probably a lock that the AG will issue the letter saying “the law and legislative history are clear.”)

    (2). Send a copy of such AG letter to every PD/SO in the area (certified mail). Include language from and citations to caselaw reminding them that where the law is settled in such a fashion, no qualifies immunity attaches to a violation. (E.g., cases holding that arresting lawful open carriers based solely one the fact that they were lawfully open carrying was so contrary to settled law as to flush qualified immunity.). Bonus points for pointing out the specific budgetary costs to the department for each such illegal arrest, and that a certain four initial Texas organization (hint, hint, get behind this TSRA!) will be coming after them each time they do it.

    (3) Sit back and watch the fun as the local PD brass has to tell the rank and file that if they make these kinds of arrests, they’re on they’re own, as they WON’T have qualified immunity.

    Like so much of litigation, it boils down to advance planning . . . .


  48. Sounds like he would commit Official Oppression and Unlawful Restraint. That HPD officer is a turd. Quit talking to the feces head. If it was me, there possibly would be a fight. I was a county officer, I know if I had that situation and the sign didn’t conform to the law, I would have told the person to leave the property. Send a copy of this article to the HPD Chief,

  49. I was just thinking, who upon discovery and the store employees tell that person about the sign and that person shouldn’t be in there, would stick around for the police to show up? I wouldn’t. I guess there are some people who say-“the sign is invalid, I am not leaving.”

    Also, on Jan. 1, 2016, they will have to put up and 30.06 and 30.07 sign. they are going to junk up their entrances.

  50. In Texas here. If a place makes an effort at posting a 30.06 sign, I’ll follow their wishes and go elsewhere. I’m not going to memorize the verbiage and carry around a ruler to make sure the letters are at least 1″ high. On the other hand, I ignore gunbuster and “No Weapons Allowed” signs unless they’re posted on an otherwise prohibited location (school, court, post office, etc).

  51. Only if there is no sign would he give notice before making an arrest, or as he put it, “you can beat the rap but you won’t beat the ride.”
    How do you respond to his comment?
    So basically as I understand it that specific officer would arrest me if the business had a no weapons post-it note on the cash register. I’d be as respectful and nice as possible and apologize and offer to leave the business. If the officer still arrests me at that point it is purely out to make my life difficult. The whole “you can beat the rap but you won’t beat the ride.” is just wrong. I’ll politely and without conflict “take the ride” and of course be the rap. Though when I get home I’m going to give the arresting officer a bit of his own medicine by legally(Gray area) publishing all his public and private available information to the world wide web.

  52. The only way to stop the abuse of “power” is to sue the cop personally. Also no paid leave for questionable behavior and the bad behavior will diminish. No double standards put the DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word.

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