The following is a video transcript.
Sports are a big part of our lives here in Texas. Most of us grew up going to the local high school football game for “Friday night lights.” But, you may ask, can you legally carry your handgun into a sporting event? Today, we will discuss the legality of carrying your handgun into a professional, collegiate, high school, or interscholastic sporting event. The short answer is, “no,” unless you’re a competitor.
It is illegal to carry your pistol into any professional, high school, or interscholastic sporting event. It is, however, legal to concealed carry your handgun into a collegiate event, so long as there are no posted signs.
For professional sporting events, the law prohibits us carrying into any event. This includes basketball, baseball, football, hockey, tennis, golf, and of course, our beloved rodeos. Yes, I’m sorry to tell you that you cannot carry your gun into a professional rodeo arena. But that begs the question, how exactly is a “professional” sporting event defined?
The law can get kind of murky when it comes to privately-hosted sporting events. For example, what if an individual decides to host a golf tournament on their private property? Is that a “professional” sporting event? Well if it is all amateurs participating in the event, then it most likely is not a “professional” event. However, if there are participants who compete professionally, if there is a large prize, or if it is mostly sponsored by outside companies, then it starts to look a bit more like a “professional” event and carrying your firearm may be unlawful.
The law is very clear when it comes to firearms on school premises: it is illegal to carry a gun onto any private or public school premises or any grounds where a school-sponsored event, including interscholastic events, is taking place. This means that you cannot carry a long gun or a handgun into the local junior high football game. It also means that if the marching band decides to practice in the parking lot of the school that day, it would be illegal to carry in that area.
So, what about collegiate sporting events? Am I allowed to take my gun? The law was recently revised as part of the campus carry law to allow a License to Carry holder to concealed carry, not open carry, into a public or private collegiate sporting event, so long as there are no 30.06 signs posted at the venue. Remember though that under Texas law, it is only illegal to carry on the premises itself, the physical building where the event is taking place. The definition does not include parking lots or sidewalks adjacent to the building where tailgating may take place, so long as there are no 30.06 signs posted.
These events are fun, but we have to remember, as gun owners we are expected to know and understand the law. If you have any questions about carrying a firearm at one of the locations we have discussed, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.