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Since January 1, 2016, Texas has allowed “open carry” — or wearing weapons in plain view in belt or shoulder holsters. That law was passed even though 75 percent of Texas police chiefs expressed opposition to open carry. Since then, lawmakers have passed more gun-related laws, several of which went into effect on September 1, 2019, and further loosened restrictions on open carry in Texas.
Now most Texans can carry a handgun in public without a special license to carry. Texans can also get a License to Carry (LTC) for additional benefits.
Generally, Texans can carry in Texas if they meet the following requirements
– Be at least 21 years old
– Not have a prior felony conviction for which the punishment ended in the last five years and even after five years only at the person’s residence
– Not be a member of a criminal street gang
– Not have a conviction for family violence for which the punishment ended in the last five years
– Not be subject to a protective order
– Not be prohibited from carrying a firearm under federal law
– Not be intoxicated other than inside one’s residence or inside one’s vehicle. (If you drive while intoxicated, that is unlawful carry of a weapon.)
Here’s a quick rundown of new laws that went into effect on Sept. 1, 2019, in Texas.
A license to carry gives you additional rights, such as the ability to carry in a secured area like an airport, on a college campus, at a government meeting etc.
Generally, a person who has been a resident of the state for at least six months, who is at least 21 and has not been convicted of a felony and is of sound mind, may apply for a License to Carry. The exhaustive list of eligibility requirements includes:
Long guns do not require a license to carry. The law only applies to handguns.
No. An officer may not stop a person simply to determine if they have a License to Carry. While they may make a consensual encounter, the person with whom they are talking has the right to walk away, not answer questions, and not show their License to Carry. On the other hand, if the officer has reasonable suspicion or probable cause that an offense has or is occurring, they may legally stop that person. If you are legally stopped and asked then you must show the officer your License to Carry.
If a police officer has a valid reason to stop you and then asks to see your License to Carry, failure to show your license is a violation of Government Code Section 411.205. However, the penalty that existed for this offense was removed by the legislature. (A previous version of the statute provided that failure to show a license to carry will result in a suspension of the license for a period of 90 days. A subsequent offense was a Class B misdemeanor.) For now, it is a violation without a penalty.
Yes, but the firearm must be concealed when carrying on campus, which means it must be hidden in a holster, tucked in a backpack or purse. Institutions of higher learning do not allow open carry. You cannot openly carry a gun on campus. Read more about Campus Carry in Texas.
The law still prohibits the carry of firearms (and other weapons) in the following locations:
Until August 1, 2016, Penal Code 46.035 prohibited the carry of a handgun, even with a License to Carry, in the following locations:
Yes. It is an offense to carry a handgun, even with a License to Carry, if the person carrying the handgun is intoxicated.