The Houston Zoo has taken down its “no guns allowed” signage after a Second Amendment attorney said the rule ran afoul of a new Texas-wide law.
Signs that said handguns were banned inside the zoo had adorned its entrance until this week when city officials ordered them to be removed after receiving a complaint from T. Edwin Walker, an attorney with Texas Law Shield.
Mr. Walker wrote the zoo two days after a law went into effect on the first of the month authorizing the Texas attorney general to investigate and fine “political subdivisions that unlawfully post signs that prohibit concealed weapons on property where concealed handgun license holders (CHL holders) are legally permitted to carry.”
Although the zoo is operated by an independent nonprofit group, Mr. Walker said it sits on city property and must abide applicable legislation.
The new law, S.B. 273, allows violators to be fined $1,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for each subsequent infraction. In a statement, the zoo said it has complied and removed the signage while it weighs its legal options.
“Effective immediately, the Houston Zoo will not ask anyone who is lawfully permitted to carry a concealed legal handgun to stow their weapon in their vehicle while visiting the zoo. We do recognize that this has the potential to confuse or concern our guests and members and we want to emphasize that this will not alter our number-one priority, which is the safety of our guests, employees and animals,” the zoo said in a statement.