HARLINGEN — Shops in the business of printing signs have been pretty busy lately.
That’s because of the new open carry gun law.
If business owners want to ban open-carry guns from their premises, they are required to have signs posted at entrances — in English and Spanish.
If they want to ban all guns, they must have four signs.
One to ban all concealed guns, one to ban all openly carried guns, and both signs must be in English and Spanish.
The signs must be in accordance with the law — specifically, Texas Penal Code sections 30.06 and 30.07, said San Benito Assistant Police Chief Michael Galvan.
With all these requirements, which started when the law went into effect Jan. 1, professional sign companies are popular right now.
Both Fast Signs in Harlingen and MJ Screen Printing in San Benito were busy all week preparing and printing signs.
The new law allows residents to openly carry licensed handguns in Texas.
People who openly carry guns are required to have them holstered on the shoulder or belt, Galvan said.
“It should stay in the holster,” Galvan said. “Don’t walk around with your hand on your gun.”
Those who currently have a concealed handgun license can now openly carry.
However, local businesses have the power, if they choose, to ban all guns.
But they must display the proper signs alerting the public. That’s where the sign companies come into play.
Mario Maya, owner of MJ Screen Printing, said orders for signs banning guns came in well before the law went into affect and more after it became a reality.
Now that word has spread around town, Maya expects more orders for signs to come in.
Just this past week, Fast Signs had printed about 15 to 20 signs each day.
“And they are still coming in,” said spokesman Ernest Macias. “A majority of the orders have come from local businesses, clinics, pet clinics, hospitals and many more. We’re just trying to be proactive.”
Before the law went into effect, Macias said few customers were ordering signs for guns. But after that, many orders started rolling in, and fast.
“Customers have not expressed concerns. They merely asked what they can and cannot do and what each law means,” Macias said.
Designer Mando Barrera took Valley Morning Star staff through the process of making a sign.
Barrera starts by designing the sign himself, using the correct font, lettering and size required by law on the computer. To do that, Macias said they follow Texas.Gov guidelines.
After that, Barrera sets the sign up to print on a large industrial-style printer.
“If I had to say which one is being ordered more, it would be the sign banning open carry. But they are both being ordered,” Barrera said.
If need be, the company will install the sign for the business.
The new law bans guns at schools, courts and jails. Bars, polling places and sanctioned sporting events remain off limits, too.
Government meetings also can be designated gun-free with a notice.
The law still will ban handguns from certain public places including churches, hospitals, correctional facilities and some places where alcohol is served or sold.
Gun holders who ignore those signs made by Barrera and others risk violating state trespassing laws and could face penalties and fines.