Texas Gun Laws

Who can carry?

Texas is one of the few states in the United States that allows it’s residents to carry firearms. Any resident of Texas can carry a firearm, they just need to go through the proper procedures in order to carry one. While you can purchase firearms in the state of Texas, you are not able to sell, rent or loan a gun to anyone that you know will use it against the law.

Texas Laws

Texas is bordered to the south by Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Oklahoma, to the west by New Mexico, and to the east by Arkansas and Louisiana. Texas is both the second most populous and the second most extensive of the U.S. Open carry is legal in Texas with a valid license to carry.

In Texas, you do not need a permit to purchase or carry a firearm, this includes shotguns and rifles. You must obtain a permit to carry a handgun. You must also be over 18 years of age to purchase and carry a firearm in the state of Texas.

Right to own – What can invalidate this?

Texas does not require it’s residents to have a license to carry a firearm, and any resident over the age of 18 is eligible to carry a firearm. There are a few things that can invalidate your right to own and carry a firearm. If you are a convicted felon, you are not able to carry a firearm. Also, if you have been convicted of a Class A misdemeanor against your family or household, you are not eligible to carry a firearm. There are also certain orders against the Family Code and Code of Criminal Procedure that can make you ineligible to carry a firearm.

State Constitution

Regarding the right to bear arms, the Texas Constitution states:

“Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.”

Restoration of rights if taken away

If your right to carry a gun has been taken away, you can file a petition to get it restored. You must first apply for a pardon and then fill out an application to get your rights restored. These forms will be sent to the courts and they will either approve or deny your right to carry a firearm.

Registration requirements

You must apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm in Texas. You will need to provide an application, two photographs (passport quality), fingerprints, proof of residency in Texas, age verification (at least 21 for concealed firearm), a certificate showing you are proficient to use a handgun, authorization to release your records and an affidavit stating you understand the laws.

Special requirements for owning a gun

There are no real special requirements for owning a gun in Texas. If you wan to carry a concealed firearm, you need to go through the application process to get that approved. Because Texas does allow it’s residents to carry firearms, there are a few places you are not allowed to take the firearm. These include: Courts, businesses that sell alcohol for consumption on site, any type of school, nursing homes and hospitals, amusement parks, polling place on the day of an election, churches, race track, jails and prisons, secure area of the airport. You can also not carry a firearm while you are drunk, and you must have it concealed at all times.

Texas is one of the most lenient states when it comes to firearms. All residents are eligible to own one, unless they are felons. While there are certain places firearms are not allowed, it is very common to see residents of Texas with shotguns and rifles in their cars.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Texas will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Texas’ license:

“The governor shall negotiate an agreement with any other state that provides for the issuance of a license to carry a concealed handgun under which a license issued by the other state is recognized in this state or shall issue a proclamation that a license issued by the other state is recognized in this state if the AG of the State of Texas determines that a background check of each applicant for a license issued by that state is initiated by state or local authorities or an agent of the state or local authorities before the license is issued.”

Since there is no national carry license, as with the other states, some states are reciprocal with Texas and some are not. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Texas AG at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur.

Duty to Inform Officers

Yes. If a license holder is carrying a handgun on or about the license holder’s person when a LEO demands that the license holder display identification, the license holder must display both their license to carry and driver’s license.

Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Texas permits anyone who is legally allowed to possess firearms to carry them in vehicles without a permit. People without permits must keep handguns concealed and out of sight when in vehicle.

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes, if you possess a valid concealed handgun license/permit and the establishment derives less than 51% of its income from the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption. If there is a “No Gun Sign,” You are prohibited from carrying into the establishment. You are prohibited from carrying while You consume alcohol or are under the influence of alcohol.

Open Carry

Open carry is legal in Texas, but You must have a license to carry issued by Texas or a permit/license that Texas honors. If open carrying, the firearm must either be in a shoulder holster or a belt holster. LEOs have the authority to ask if You have a permit/license to carry when open carrying. If asked, You must display Your license/permit.

Open carry is not allowed on the campuses of any four-year public college/university/Jr. or community colleges. Beginning August 1, 2017 public four-year universities and public two-year colleges must allow concealed carry in campus buildings. Universities are allowed to designate certain sensitive areas as “gun free zones.”

Self-defense Laws

Texas has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat from any place You have a legal right to be. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into a dwelling, place of business, or occupied motor vehicle.

Criminal Provisions

In Texas it is unlawful to possess a firearm in the following prohibited places:

  • A license holder may carry concealed, but not openly, on the premises of an institute of higher education.
    • No private or public institution of higher education may enact any regulation prohibiting or restricting the storage or transportation of a firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned vehicle including a student enrolled at the institution
    • The president of institutions of higher education must develop reasonable rules and regulations governing the carrying of handguns by license holders on campus, and these rules must not have the effect of general prohibiting license holders from carrying on campus
    • An institute of higher education may develop rules and regulations governing the storage of handguns in dormitories and residential facilities owned or operated by that institution and located on its campus
  • On the premises of a polling place on the day of an election or while early voting is in progress
  • On the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the court
  • On the premises of a racetrack
  • In or into a secured area of an airport. Note that You cannot be arrested solely for possessing a handgun You’re licensed to carry in the secure part of an airport, unless You fail to leave immediately upon being asked to by a police officer
  • In or at any penal institution
  • Hotels unless the hotel has notified the guest upon reservation confirmation
  • A hospital
  • An amusement park
  • A church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship
    • Beginning 9/1/17 an exemption exists for volunteers providing security at places of worship who have a LTC and are approved by the congregation leaders.
  • Within 1,000 feet of premises the location of which is designated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a place of execution under Article 43.19, Code of Criminal Procedure, on a day that a sentence of death is set to be imposed on the designated premises and the person received notice
  • State agencies or political subdivisions are prohibited from posting signs prohibiting license holders from carrying on their premises, except for the locations listed above where carrying weapons is already prohibited
  • Carrying on the grounds or in the building of any K-12 school is prohibited.
  • Beginning September 1, 2017 employees of school districts, open-enrollment charter schools and private elementary schools who possess valid LTCs are permitted to transport and store firearms in their locked cars and trucks.