I have found a copy of the judge's rulings of 27 Dec 2017. https://www.tml.org/p/Ltr%20%20-%20Paxt ... Gn-16-3340
Note that these rulings are on motions for summary judgments from both the Office of Attorney General and the City of Austin. Each side asked the judge to immediately rule in its favor on all points, dispensing with a trial. Instead, the judge ruled that the OAG won some, the City won some, and the rest will have to be sorted out at trial.
My first pass summary/restatement of interesting (to me anyway) points follows. This is not necessarily a complete summary. Note that this order rests on some very specific words and phrases in the law. Also, it is focused on the specific facts of the case, on the actual signs and oral statements, not on signs and oral communications in general.
Reading the whole thing is interesting, because it describes some of the investigatory steps the OAG took. For instance, two of their investigators, who have LTCs, went to the City Hall building and tried to enter with their handguns. They did not identify themselves as peace officers, only as LTC holders.Signs
A gunbuster sign (gun inside a slashed circle) by itself, posted by a government entity, does not constitute a violation of GC 411.209(a) (the para that prohibits governments from giving notice by communication described by PC Section 30.06). Such a sign does not meet the notice requirements of 30.06 as does not refer to concealed handgun licenses nor include references to 30.06. A sign is not an oral communication, it is a written communication, and therefore it needs to include the text specified by 30.06 to be a notice forbidden by GC411.209(a). The gunbuster etched on the door of Austin City Hall does not include this language, therefore it is not be a "notice by a communication described by Section 30.06, Penal Code." GC 411.209(a) also forbids a sign referring to concealed handguns, but the gunbuster sign does not do that either. Therefore the city did not violate the law by posting this sign. Oral Notice
The short answer is that whether the City of Austin violated the law via the oral communications of their security officers to a license holder has not yet been conclusively established either way by what's on record so far. So it appears this will be a question at trial. It appears the question will be something along the lines of "at what point does an oral statement give rise to notice and criminal liability for the license holder". Oral communication is not defined in 30.06 (nor 411.209) like written communications are.
Best to go read the order to see the judge's discussion on this, it's hard (for me) to summarize, and I am getting tired of typing anyway.
But think of this question: If a sign, to be enforceable against a LTC holder, must reference 30.06 and specific text requirements, then should an oral communication, to be enforceable against a LTC holder, have a similar requirement? Regular "no guns" signs have no criminal liability for a LTC holder. Should spoken "no guns" communications" have criminal liability?
Go read the judge's discussion.Courts, premise, or portions thereof
Weapons are forbidden "on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court," and premises means "a building or portion of a building." The judge ruled that the "or" in the definition of premises gives the government the choice of whether it will ban LTC holders from carrying only in the court areas ("portion") or from carrying in the whole building.
However: ONLY, in the case of this City Hall
, when court is in session. Banning carry in City Hall all the time when court meets only a few times per month is not allowed.
Since the record to date does not show whether the days that the OAG asserted the City was in violation were the same days that court was NOT in session, this will have to be sorted out at trial.School-Sponsored Activity
I was unaware until now that the City of Austin claimed that one of the reasons it can ban carry at the City Hall was because of school-sponsored activities. In particular City Hall has a "People's Gallery" of art that includes works by students in cooperation with the Austin ISD. The city argues that this is a school-sponsored activity. The judge ruled that passive display of art does is not a school-sponsored activity.
However, the City and the OAG agree that the school sponsored activity ban on LTC carry applies in City Hall when there are actual field trips or of the activities sponsored by the school being conducted.
Once again, it is not yet in the record as which days there were school sponsored activities in the City Hall, so that will have to be determined at trial.City Meetings
The City argued that it could also ban carry in the City Hall because it hosts open meetings that qualify under the 46.03 statute. The OAG argued the restriction applies only to the rooms that meetings are being held in and only when the meetings are being conducted. The judge agreed with the OAG.
OK. That's it for now. Go read the opinion for yourself.