Texas is about a week into Open Carry and while the lists continue to grow over which businesses welcome the practice, Walmart is now weighing in.
While the national retailer welcomes CHL to carry openly in their stores, they say they are asking managers at stores to sell alcohol to check those customers for their licenses.
Walmart says they welcome anyone with a license to carry. And in a statement to FOX 7, they add, "We will continue to allow customers to carry firearms on Walmart property as long as they follow local, state and federal firearm laws. In line with Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission requirements, our stores that sell alcoholic beverages will not allow customers to carry non-licensed handguns or long-arms into our facilities.”
"They could lose their liquor license," say Justin Delosh, adding, "they are legitimately concerned about that. That's not them appeasing the anti-gun crowd. That's just them crossing their t's and dotting their i's to keep their doors open."
Delosh believes in Constitutional Carry, the right to carry in Texas without a license. His group Lone Star Gun Rights fought, unsuccessfully for Constitutional Carry in the last legislative session. He says they will mount their campaign again, next time around. Delosh says that's why he doesn't have a CHL. But, he thinks Walmart is being pressured. "They're posting the proper signage, they are obeying the law and the TABC is kind of bullying them."
The TABC says “The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code does not contain language specifically requiring businesses to check the License to Carry of patrons who choose to carry handguns into a TABC-licensed establishment. However, under Sections 11.61(e) and 61.71(f) of the Code, businesses could lose their liquor license or permit if an unlicensed handgun is brought onto the premises. Ultimately, how business owners choose to verify the licensed status of a person carrying a handgun is up to them.”
Walmart shoppers like Sunny White think the retailer is doing the right thing. "I think it's very responsible because if you are going to carry a gun you already know that people are going to question to make sure you are legal."
Walmart says since Open Carry took effect they have had customers openly carry in their stores - and they've complied with without incident. And they say they aren't aware of any problems or complaints that have been filed against the retailer over their new requirement.
Last year, according to DPS statistics, there were more than two hundred and twelve thousand licences issued in texas...That's actually down by almost thirty thousand from the year before. It's not clear how many of those have chosen to openly carry.