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Wearing a face mask does not inhibit your right to carry

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 4:30 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Within the last 24 hours, many cities and counties have passed mandatory mask emergency orders due to the spike in COVID-19 cases. These mandates have caused alarm for those with open carry permits.

There is no need to worry. You can wear a mask and it will not inhibit your right to carry.

According to Richard D. Hayes II, an attorney at Walker & Taylor, PLLC, “if the person is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing or carrying firearms or ammunition, ‘mask requirements’ here in Texas should have little effect on an individual’s carry rights.”

In a blog post on the company’s website, Hayes breaks down how the mask mandate affects the different types of permits. Basically, it doesn’t.

If you have a Texas License to Carry a Handgun (LTC), or other type of permit/license wearing a mask does not directly impact your right to carry. The Tex. Penal Code Sec. 42.01(a)(8) states that for those who are not prohibited from possessing a rifle or shotgun may generally carry them so long as they are not carried in a public place in a “manner calculated to alarm”. Many believe that wearing a mask would subject them to this infringement.

“We have seen many erroneously claim online that you cannot carry a handgun while wearing a mask here in Texas; that is simply not true. License and permit holders may still carry in the manner they were lawfully allowed to in Texas before the pandemic,” said Hayes.

Hayes explains that intent to cause alarm is where you can discern what is and is not allowed. Wearing a face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 would mean that the “intent to cause alarm” is not there.

He also mentions that with COVID-19 more measures like social distancing, limited capacity, and increased security have been seen at more businesses. Hayes says that if an employee, manager, or someone with authority tells you to that you cannot enter the building with your handgun, even if there are no effective Tex. Penal Code Sec. 30.06 or 30.07 signs posted, you must leave immediately or risk criminal trespass charges. The same goes for not wearing a mask. A business can ask you to leave if you refuse to wear a mask, failing to comply could also result in criminal trespass charges.

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