Texas & U.S. Law Shield Forum

Uncategorized Boards => Ask the Lawyers => Topic started by: ng101 on December 06, 2017, 02:22:30 AM

Title: HB435 Volunteer Emergency Services
Post by: ng101 on December 06, 2017, 02:22:30 AM
Would being in a "Volunteer Organization Active in Disasters" for example Texas Search And Rescue- TEXSAR, qualify me as a Volunteer Emergency Services personnel. Also if so, do they have the right to deny me from carrying when deployed on calls with them during disasters?
Title: Re: HB435 Volunteer Emergency Services
Post by: TexasLawShield on December 14, 2017, 02:07:02 PM

You may qualify as “volunteer emergency services personnel.”

TPC § 46.01(18) defines volunteer emergency service personnel as “a volunteer firefighter, an emergency medical services volunteer as defined by Section 773.003, Health and Safety Code, and any individual who, as a volunteer, provides services for the benefit of the general public during emergency situations.” This text requires only that you be a volunteer and that you provide services for the benefit of the general public during an emergency situation. Unfortunately, since this is a new law, we have no guidance on how courts will apply this text; however, this definition likely will apply to TEXSAR.

If it applies to you, this law eliminates criminal responsibility for carrying a handgun most places that weapons are prohibited. It creates a defense to prosecution if—while performing emergency services—you carry beyond a 30.06 or 30.07 sign or into a location listed in TPC § 46.035(b) or (c). The locations listed in § 46.035 include 51% establishments; sporting events; hospitals, places of religious worship, and amusement parks posted with 30.06/30.07; civil commitment facilities; or properly posted government meetings. But, you still may not carry into correctional facilities. Keep in mind, you must be performing the emergency services to qualify. This law is not a free pass to carry all the time. 

HB 435 also creates TPC § 46.15(a)(10), exempting you from prosecution under §§ 46.02 and 46.03 IF (1) you were carrying a handgun with a valid LTC and (2) you were engaged in providing emergency services. This means you cannot be prosecuted for unlawfully carrying weapons or carrying a handgun in a place weapons are prohibited (e.g., airports, polling places, schools, etc.) resulting from your provision of emergency services.

Your employer is allowed to make rules restricting your right to carry while on the job. These rules will not carry any criminal liability, but violating the terms set by your employer may subject you to discipline or termination.