CHAPPELL HILL, Texas—A Texas bank has created a new rule allowing concealed-handgun owners in the building, in hopes that they’ll be a deterrent to armed robbers.
Chappell Hill Bank, located about an hour northwest of Houston, is a bank with history.
"Near as we know, we’re the oldest continuously operated bank in the United States," said bank president Ed Smith. "The rest of them closed for Roosevelt’s bank holiday in 1933."
There have been rules along the way.
"No damn Yankee is going to tell us what to do," said Smith.
Smith, a fourth-generation Texan, recently added another rule to the list.
"I got to thinking we have a right to bear arms," said Smith. "People who have a conceal carry license are welcome here with their pistols."
The premise is boldly stated on the front door.
"Management recognizes the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution," the sign reads.
Smith said he has received reactions from all around the world, and the vast majority of them have been positive. He said the measure hasn’t been bad for business either, and that it has generated at least a dozen new accounts.
Smith said, more than anything, the new policy was intended to send a message to would-be robbers.
"I’m not a robber, but if I was, I’m not going into some place where I thought there was somebody with a gun ready to fire at me," said Ken Lane, a bank customer.
Smith reiterated Lane’s point.
"You don’t know that Mrs. Middlebrooks doesn’t have a .38 in her purse right there," he said. "And, if you try something nefarious in the bank, you might wind up in a horizontal position."
The bank has been robbed five times in its storied history of 100-plus years, most recently in March, Smith said. He said there won’t be a sixth time.
"Come in here, and you might leave feet first," Smith said.