Texas Laws Applicable to Private Security Officers
- ■ To qualify as a non-commissioned security officer, the individual must have successfully completed a Texas Private Security Board approved Level II training course and the examination required by §1702.117 of the Texas Occupations Code.
- ■ Prior to becoming a commissioned security officer, Level II training and examination must be completed. A commissioned security officer must also successfully complete a Texas Private Security Board approved Level III training course required by §1702.1675 of the Texas Occupations Code, and complete a written and physical demonstration handgun proficiency examination within 90 days before the issuance date of the security officer commission.
- ■ Prior to becoming a personal protection officer, Level III training must be completed. A personal protection officer must also complete a Texas Private Security Board approved Level IV training course and be employed at the time of application by an investigations company or guard company licensed by the Texas Private Security Board.
Laws Protecting Private Security Officers
- ■ An assault against a non-commissioned or commissioned private security officer is a 3rd degree felony. Texas Penal Code §22.01.
- ■ An aggravated assault against a non-commissioned or commissioned private security officer is a 1st degree felony. Texas Penal Code §22.02.
- ■ The taking or attempted taking of a weapon from a commissioned private security officer is a 3rd degree felony and state jail felony. Texas Penal Code §38.14.
- ■ A commissioned security officer, not acting as a personal protection officer, may only carry a firearm if the security officer is engaged in the performance of their duties as a security officer; or traveling to or from their place of assignment. In order to carry a firearm, the security officer must wear a distinctive uniform indicating the individual is a security officer, and carry the firearm in plain view. Texas Occupations Code §1702.169.
- ■ An individual acting as a personal protection officer may only carry a firearm if they are engaged in the exclusive performance of the officer’s duties as a personal protection officer for the employer under whom the officer’s personal protection officer endorsement is issued; or traveling to or from the place of assignment. The officer must carry their security officer commission and personal protection officer endorsement on the officer’s person while performing the officer’s duties or traveling and must present the endorsement upon request. A personal protection officer who is wearing the uniform of a security officer, may not conceal any firearm the individual is carrying. A personal protection officer who is not wearing a uniform of a security officer shall conceal the firearm. Texas Occupations Code §1702.206.
The General Firearms Laws of The State of Texas:
In Texas, it is generally illegal to carry a handgun outside of a person’s own premises. However, a person may carry, either open or concealed, in a non-threatening or alarming manner, a shotgun or rifle.
However even with a handgun, in Texas, there are several places where a person may possess a handgun legally without the benefit of a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL). These places include:
- ■ A person’s residence or other real property under their control.
- ■ A person’s private motor vehicle or watercraft if the handgun is concealed, and the person is legal to possess a firearm, is not a member of a street gang, and is not engaged in the commission of a crime greater than a Class C misdemeanor traffic or boating violation.
- ■ A person engaged in lawful fishing, hunting, or other sporting activity on the immediate premises where the activity is conducted, or is en route between the premises and the persons’ residence or motor vehicle, if the firearm is a type commonly used in the activity.
- ■ While storing a loaded firearm, it must be in a place which cannot be accessed by a child under the age of 17, or secured with a trigger lock if there is reason to know that a child under 17 may gain access to the firearm.
The State of Texas Justification For the Use of Force & Deadly Force:
In Texas, there are several situations where a person is justified in using force or deadly force.
A person may use force against another to the degree the person believes that it is reasonably necessary to protect themselves or a third person from another’s unlawful use of force.
Deadly force is defined as the degree of force likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, which includes actually firing a gun. However, the threat of using deadly force by displaying a weapon, if it is intended to cause apprehension that an actor will use deadly force if necessary, is defined by law as the use of force not deadly force.
In Texas, it is presumed that deadly force was reasonably necessary if it is used against an individual who was unlawfully or forcibly entering or entered into an occupied home, business, or vehicle or is attempting to forcibly remove another against his or her will from an occupied home, business, or vehicle. Deadly force is also presumed to be justified to prevent the commission or attempted commission of murder, aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.
In Texas if a person is present in any place where they have a right to be, they have no duty to retreat and have the right to use force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe that it is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to themselves or to prevent the commission of murder, aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery or aggravated robbery.
Texas law allows a person to use force in the protection of property to prevent or terminate another’s trespass or other unlawful interference with the possession of real or personal property. Deadly force can be used in Texas when the crime against property is classified as arson, burglary, robbery, criminal mischief at night or theft at night. Deadly force may also be used to prevent a person from fleeing with property immediately after the commission of a burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime if the actor believes that the property cannot be recovered by any other means or the use of force other than deadly force would expose the person to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
Texas also allows a person to use force and deadly force to protect the personal property of a third party. The use of force is permissible if the person believes that the force or deadly force is necessary to prevent the commission of theft or criminal mischief, or if the person believes that the third party has asked them to protect the property, the person has a legal duty to protect the property, or the third party is the spouse, parent, child or under the care of the person using force.
Unique Firearms Laws of Texas:
Texas recently enacted a law which states that people have a right to keep firearms in their locked motor vehicle while on their employers’ parking areas. However, some employers are excepted from this law. These employers include school districts or charter schools, chemical manufacturers and oil refiners that manufacture, use, transport or store hazardous materials if it has a secured parking lot, or on parking areas for which possession of firearms is prohibited by an unexpired oil and gas lease. Further, employees do not have the right to store loaded firearms in a vehicle owned or leased by the employer.
Any of the above information is solely a general legal discussion of the law in Texas and should not be considered as giving legal advice, nor creating an attorney-client relationship. Your situation may be different, so contact an attorney regarding your personal circumstances.