Texas State Gun Laws
This article will provide an overview of the gun laws in the great state of Texas. TX is one of the most gun friendly states in the union.
Disclaimer: This article is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and is for Informational Purposes Only. Gun Laws can be tricky and unclear at times and changes are made often. We take no responsibility for the use or misuse of any information contained in this article. You are responsible for knowing the gun laws if you are going to carry a gun. Consult a Lawyer with any questions. See Footnote*
Texas Constitutional (Permitless) Carry
Texas Constitutional Carry, technically known as “permitless carry”, became legal in TX on September 1, 2021. This means that anyone 21 years old or older that can legally possess a handgun (not prohibited under Federal or Texas State Law) can carry it openly or concealed without a permit.
Texas Permitless Carry does restrict certain individuals under Texas State Law. These generally involve those that have been convicted of certain offenses such as felonies, assault, terroristic threats, discharging firearms in public, etc. These individuals have certain waiting periods before they can legally possess a firearm. If you are in doubt, consult a lawyer to be on the safe side.
There are rules and limitations such as:
- Openly carried guns must be in a holster at all times. The Texas law is specific about this.
- When carrying concealed, no part of the gun can be visible.
- Off limits areas include, but are not limited to: racetracks and secure areas of airports.
- Bars/restaurants: You CANNOT carry in a business that alcohol sales account for 50% or more of gross receipts. (this must be posted on premises)
Texas Open Carry Laws
Open Carry is legal in Texas. On September 1, 2021, “permitless” carry became legal for any person 21 years of age or older. Open carry is permitted in Texas if you are 21 or older and can legally possess a handgun. Also, the openly carried gun MUST BE IN A HOLSTER. See Penal Code 46.035 (select current date). Open Carry is legal in many other states as well. See States with Open Carry Laws.
Texas Concealed Carry Laws
Anyone over the age of 21 (18 if you are active Military or Honorably discharged Veteran) that can legally possess a handgun can Concealed Carry in the State of Texas. You do not need a Concealed Carry Permit to carry concealed in Texas. However, those that do get a permit, or LTC (License To Carry) have less restrictions on where they can carry a concealed handgun. For example:
Those with a Texas LTC can carry within 1,000 feet of a school (still cannot carry inside a school building). without an LTC, you must stay outside the 1,000 foot limit.
Only those with a Texas LTC may carry in amusement parks and nursing homes unless specifically prohibited.
Also, an LTC allows you to carry Lower Colorado River Authority, but you cannot carry there without the permit.
- There have been 1.7 million permits issued in TX.
- Texas state population is 29 million.
- Percentage of the population of Texas with a permit is about 6%.
- States that currently honor the Texas carry permit 37.
- Texas currently honors 44 other states permits. See Current Texas Reciprocity Map
- Concealed carry permit in Texas are good for 5 years.
- Texas is a “shall issue” state. (Shall- issue means that if you apply for a permit they will issue you one unless there is a legal reason not to. Such as if you are a convicted felon.)
Age to get a License To Carry in Texas
You must be at least 21 years old to get an LTC in the State of Texas. If you are a veteran or Active Member of the U.S. military, the age is 18.
How to get an LTC in Texas?
The Texas Gun Permit is called an LTC, which stands for License To Carry. It may be referred to as an LTC, permit, license to carry or concealed carry permit. It all means the same thing for the purposes of this article.
An LTC in Texas is issued to residents as well as non-residents. The requirements are:
- 4-6 hour training course.
- Pass a written exam.
- Pass a shooting proficiency test.
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Texas Reciprocity with other States
Texas allows permitless carry for any person 21 years of age and older who can legally possess a firearm. This means anyone meeting the age and legal requirements from any other state can carry without a permit in Texas.
Who CANNOT Carry in Texas?
Here are a few examples of people that can’t carry in Texas. This is not a complete list, but if you have doubts, you probably can’t carry and need to find out before you do. See the Texas Penal Code (be sure to select current date) for more details.
- Under 21 (18 if Veteran or Active Military)
- Convicted of a felony
- You are prohibited by State or Federal law from possessing a firearm
Texas Carry Location Restrictions FAQs
Can I Carry in Restaurants or Bars in Texas?
It depends. You CANNOT Carry in a business that sells alcoholic beverages for consumption on-premise if the sales of alcohol constitutes more than 50% of the business’ gross receipts. The business must display a “51%” sign to inform patrons of this. If the bar or restaurant displays this sign, the possession of a concealed weapon on the premises is a felony.
For details, See Texas Penal Code Chapter 46: Weapons (be sure to select current date)
You CAN concealed carry in the restaurant area of an eatery that serves alcohol (those that make less than 51% of their profits from alcohol) without a license.
Can I carry concealed in a vehicle in Texas?
Yes. Under the new Law effective September 1, 2021, it CANNOT be in plain view unless it is in a holster AND you are 21 years of age or older or you are a Texas LTC Holder.
Can I Carry in State Parks, National Parks, Forests and Wildlife Management Areas of Texas?
Yes, but there are some prohibited areas such as State-Owned Riverbeds in LaSalle & McMullen Counties and a few others. See Texas Parks & Wildlife Code for details.
FAQ Texas Laws Regarding the Sale or Transfer of Firearms
Here are some common questions dealing with the purchase of a gun in Texas.
Is a permit required to purchase firearms in Texas?
No permit is needed to purchase a handgun in Texas. Texas LTC holders do not need a background check to purchase a handgun.
Do Private-party sales and transfers require a background check in Texas?
Sales and transfers between private parties are not required to have background checks, but all rules as to who can legally possess a handgun still apply.
Does Texas have magazine limits for handguns?
No. Texas does not have any laws restricting the magazine capacity for handguns.
Does Texas restrict certain types of ammunition?
Yes. Texas prohibits Armor-Piercing ammunition. This ammunition is already illegal for civilians by Federal Law.
FAQ About Firearms Laws in Texas
Here are a few critical pieces of information you need to know. Please read these if you are going to be legally carrying a gun and want to do it right!
Is There a Duty to Retreat in Texas?
Are “No Guns” signs enforced by law?
YES. Be very careful here. Texas has complicated laws regarding signs. Disobeying certain signs is a crime in Texas so be sure you understand the laws and signs before entering any building or business.
Duty to inform?
Yes. In Texas, you are required to inform a law enforcement officer that you are carrying a firearm if you are asked for identification, stopped for a traffic violation, or are questioned by police on another matter.
Simply tell the officer you are legally carrying a concealed handgun. Never touch or reach for the gun, just hand the officer your permit (if applicable) along with your drivers license or ID and wait for his or her instructions. Always keep your hands in plain sight and make no sudden or furtive movements.
A Word of Advice and Additional questions
I will just leave you with a word of advice. Always use common sense when carrying a handgun, concealed or otherwise.
You must avoid confrontation at all times and never allow yourself to get into an argument of any kind with anybody. If you are carrying, you are essentially bringing a deadly weapon into every interaction you have in your daily life.
- If someone cuts you off in traffic, LET IT GO.
- If someone cuts in line in front of you, LET IT GO.
- If someone starts trouble, LEAVE or CALL 911.
You must never instigate a problem or escalate an issue. If you get into an argument on the street and it ends with you drawing your weapon, you had better be the picture of innocence if you want to claim self defense.
If you have other questions, please leave them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them.
Please keep in mind that these Texas gun laws can change at any time and it is your responsibility as the gun owner to know the laws in the states and counties where you will be carrying your firearm.
Do not base your decision to carry your firearm in Texas solely on this article. I make no guarantee that this information is accurate at the time you read it, although I will endeavor to keep it up to date and accurate. I am not a lawyer. I am simply providing this information that I have gathered from various trustworthy sources including Texas State Law Library and US Concealed Carry in one place for your convenience.