There have been several posts since my last. A few of these as well am many of the original 5 pages of posts makes me think that I may not be making my point well or clearly and that the main point about all of this issue is being missed.
A sign, any sign, that says things like "No Weapons allowed", "no shirt, no shoes, no service", "no dogs allowed", "no red hats", etc very clearly express the sign poster's (typically the owner) dislike and absolute unwillingness to suffer those things in his establishment. There is no disagreement there.
The question is this...does the expression of that dislike (as written with the precise language used in the above examples) have any LEGAL prerequisite authority upon which to charge someone with the CRIMINAL act of entering that establishment without the consent of the owner? Has the owner met the requirement, whatever that may be, to convey LEGALLY his prohibition TO ENTRY to that person.
Here is the logic, and as I tried to show with the logic used in the above cases (there are many more), that I think the legislature uses in their laws and that the appellate courts use to analyze this...
All three trespass sections, 30.05, 30.06, and 30.07 state that to notify someone of prohibition to entry the notification must "provides notice", in the case of 30.05, "... that entry is forbidden. ...", in the case of 30.06 "...that entry on the property by a license holder with a concealed handgun [is] forbidden. ...", and in the case of 30.07 "...that entry on the property by a license holder openly carrying a handgun [is] forbidden. ...". In all three cases the notice must include THAT ENTRY IS FORBIDDEN. Remember, this is all a statutory foundation for a criminal charge of trespass.
In 30.05, the signs must "...[indicate] that entry is forbidden. ...". In the case of 30.06 and 30.07 written documents and signs the language is specified "...may not enter this property..."
It is clear that in order to charge someone with the crime of trespass they must be notified, in LEGALLY CLEAR and precise terms, and getting the point across that...
you personally can not come in
you can't enter my establishment
in your present condition whatever that may be (other than statutorily discriminatory) you can not enter
Note that in all cases of trespass, except for handguns in .06 and .07, it is not necessary to give a reason for the prohibition. And in .06 and .07 that reason only need be given in written documents and signage but there is no stipulation with the oral notification. I don't know if it is implied that it is required in the case of oral but it is not stipulated.
So, from my research, it appears clear that to establish the element of notification required in all three sections as it relates to written documentation or signage there must be clear language prohibiting entry. This written notice must be specific, unequivocal, and speak directly to the prohibition to entry....if you are going to be able to charge someone with a criminal offense.
The foundation for the charge of the criminal offense can not be based on inference or suggestion or poor wording, especially where precise wording is specified.
A sign that says "no sandals" tells me exactly what it says. I can not wear sandals in this establishment. OK, I know now that the owner does not want sandals in his place of business. Morally, I may want to respect his wishes and not come in. But if not, I have not been notified that I may not enter. There are many, too many to think of, possibilities for the interpretation of this. Here are a few...
I might enter with sandals but I won't be served
I might enter with sandals and be asked (notified) to leave
I might enter with sandals and given a pair of dress shoes much like many fine dining establishments provide dinner jackets for those without
and I could think of a hundred more. So could any of you.
The only language that can not be misinterpreted is language that clearly states an unequivocal message...."you may not enter". That sort of unequivocal language can not be misinterpreted, misconstrued, or defended against (except in the case of legal discrimination).
So the point is that while we may understand that an owner may not like red hats he must abide by the law if he wants to be able to prefer criminal charges of trespass, and notify according to statute.
As to whether the appellate courts will take a stand of precision as to notification...their history is that they do as evidenced in a thousand non gun-related cases where precision of language is specified such as business, banking, labor, etc. To think that they would take a more sloppy approach to analysis when it comes to trespass is not a good bet. And, I have given three cases where, if you study the entire case, their analysis indicates this.
I agree that if I see a sign that says "no weapons" that I know the owner does not like guns. Too bad he didn't honor and respect my rights as a patron by notifying me BY LAW.
I agree that if I see a sign that says "no red hats" that I know the owner does not like red hats. Too bad he won't be able to charge me with trespass because he didn't notify me that entry was forbidden.
But in all cases other than statutory discrimination, IF THE OWNER DOES IT ACCORDING TO STATUTE, (and remember, orally, there is no stipulation as to how it is said) he can prohibit entry FOR ANY REASON OR NO REASON. And, except in .06 and .07, he doesn't have to give you a reason why.
Texas LTC Instructor, NRA Pistol Instructor, CFI, CFII, MEI Instructor Pilot