HEB, The Galleria banning open carry on their properties

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HEB and Simon, the company that owns The Galleria mall, have just announced they will turn away customers who are openly packing heat.

Texas' open carry law kicks in January 1, but not all businesses are embracing it.

In fact, HEB and Simon, the company that owns The Galleria mall, have just announced they will enforce a open carry weapons ban on their properties.

In a statement issued to Eyewitness News, HEB said: "As a retailer of alcohol, long guns and unlicensed guns are prohibited on our property under the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission rules. H-E-B maintains the same policy we have for years, only concealed licensed handguns are allowed on our property."

"They can make their rules. It's a business. They have that right." said HEB customer Robert Aguilar.

Another HEB customer, who said he's a member of the National Rifle Association, said he supports the ban on open carry.

"There's no need to carry a gun here," said Rodney Bennett. "Too many children, too many elderly people, too many regular people around here, too many schools too close."

Yet that's exactly why open carry supporters say they should be allowed to carry, to protect themselves and others from threats of violence.

"I don't see it as a high risk place," said David Batagower, who was leaving a Whole Foods grocery store in southwest Houston. "I don't have any personal objections to it. Alcohol being served, family environment. So no personal objections. I think it makes sense."

Whole Foods has also banned concealed and open carry handguns.

The Galleria's general manager, Greg Noble, said the mall also will turn away any guests packing heat.

"As a private property owner, Simon will continue to enforce its existing policy of not allowing possession of any weapon on its property whether concealed or displayed openly, other than licensed weapons carried by law enforcement personnel. Once the law goes into effect, any shopper in possession of a weapon will be individually notified of Simon's existing policy by a member of the security or management team and asked to comply," Noble said in a prepared statement.
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gun lawstexas newsHouston