When Texas' new open carry handgun legislation goes into effect Jan. 1, Pflugerville Police Chief Charles Hooker said he expects there to be some resulting confusion.
Under the new law, licensed handgun owners may openly wear their weapon into a place of business unless a business owner posts a sign forbidding the action—even if the business already has a sign forbidding concealed weapons, Hooker said.
Hooker said the open carry law could present challenges for some employees—such as bank employees—who may not be able to immediately detect whether an open handgun carrier is a threat. The law also means that dispatchers cannot immediately deploy officers in response to a call about "a man with a gun."
On Aug. 11, Hooker discussed the new legislation with members of the Pflugerville Chamber of Commerce and offered training for Pflugerville business owners and employees who want to know how to respond if a customer is openly carrying a handgun.
"We don't know the background of a person who is carrying a firearm. No one does," Hooker said to area business owners Aug. 11. "My question is how are you going to train your staff [to respond to someone openly carrying a handgun]?"
Travis County Constable Adan Ballesteros and RenEarl Bowie, assistant director for the Texas Department of Public Safety's Regulatory Services Department, joined Hooker on the discussion panel and also answered questions from Chamber members.
Chamber President and CEO Patricia Gervan-Brown said the Aug. 11 discussion was a way for Pflugerville business owners to prepare for the law taking effect next year.
"We just wanted to make sure the Pflugerville Chamber of Commerce was ahead of the issue and make available these wonderful resources at the county and state level," she said.