Texas Open Carry: Gun Laws & Open Carry Bill
Updated: Feb 11
Is Texas an Open Carry State?
Yes. The Texas Open Carry Bill was passed in 2015 and became effective on January 1, 2016 permitting open carry of handguns in the state of Texas for individuals who have obtained a handgun license.
Texas Open Carry Bill (House Bill 910)
The Texas Open Carry Bill (House Bill 910) makes it legal for Texans with a license to carry (LTC) to openly carry anywhere except prohibited places and where signage is posted denying open carry. The bill outlines that openly carried handguns must be carried in shoulder or belt holsters and that gun owners still possess the right to concealed carry if they prefer.
How to open carry in Texas
With the Texas Open Carry law, it is still illegal for a licensed carrier to intentionally display the handgun in plain view of another person in a public place unless the handgun is in a shoulder or belt holster. If you adhere to these carrying requirements, as well as respect the exceptions where carrying is not permitted (concealed or open), you will be legally respecting Texas Open Carry.
Numerous gun ranges sponsor seminars on laws regarding weapons and self-defense. Attorneys with the Sparks Law Firm have spoken frequently at these seminars to keep gun owners and licensed individuals up to date on weapons laws. Texas Law Shield sponsors these seminars. Call 1-877-448-6839 to find an inexpensive seminar in your area.
Open Carry Rules and Limitations
Despite the passage of the Texas Open Carry Bill, there are still places where handguns are never permitted. Carriers need to respect these designated areas or the result could be the filing of a criminal charge against you.
According to 46.035, it is illegal for a licensed carrier to possess a handgun (even if it is in a shoulder or belt holster) in the following places:
Private property where the owner has posted signage denying open carry
Portions of public or private college premises where concealed carry is prohibited by the college
Premises with an Alcoholic Beverage Code license
High school, college or professional sporting events (It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon at a college sporting event only if a Sec. 30.06 notice is provided by sign or other means.)
Hospital or nursing facility (when prohibited by posted notice)
Amusement park (when prohibited by posted notice)
Place of worship (when prohibited by posted notice)
Meeting of governmental entity subject to Open Meetings Act (when prohibited by posted notice)
On any premise while the carrier is intoxicated
What age can you open carry?
You must be 21 years old to apply for a handgun license. Once you legally have your license, there are no age limitations to open carry. The minimum age to openly carry a handgun should not be confused with the required age to purchase a firearm, which is 18.
Can you open carry with a loaded weapon?
If you have an open carry license, you may carry your weapon loaded or unloaded. Of course, carrying a loaded weapon requires you to take the utmost caution and care as to not put yourself or others in danger.
License to Carry After a Conviction
If you have been convicted of any class A misdemeanor, any class B misdemeanor, or a class C disorderly conduct, you will be required to wait five years after your conviction until you can obtain a license. If you commit a non-violent felony and receive deferred adjudication, you will need to wait ten years from the date that you received deferred adjudication.
If you’ve been convicted of a felony, you will not be able to qualify for a handgun license at any point after the conviction. See Gov. Code Secs. 411.171, 411.1711 and 411.172.
Open Carry Vs Concealed Carry
Whether you carry concealed or open is a matter of preference. If you carry open it may serve as a deterrent to a criminal and make him less likely to commit a crime since your weapon will be on display in a holster. However, it may also make you a target since the criminal will know that you are armed and he may make you his first victim. Carrying concealed gives you the element of surprise. The decision is yours to make.
Texas Concealed Carry Laws
Open carry has not changed anything about concealed carry law in Texas. You may still carry concealed in places where it is legal to do so.
In order to get your CHL (or now, your LTC) and be in accordance with Texas carry law, you still must:
Be 21 years old
Complete the state application for LTC
Present valid ID
Have proof of Texas residency
Pay all class and processing fees
Pass the handgun proficiency test
Can you open carry with a concealed permit?
Yes. You may carry openly without updating your CHL (concealed handgun license)–it will serve as your license to carry openly as well. The same precautions that are taken with your weapon when concealing should all be taken when carrying openly. When your CHL is renewed, you will be given an LTC.
Texas constitutional carry
In the 2017 Texas legislative session, lawmakers have proposed a bill that would make Texas the 14th state to permit constitutional carry. While the bill has not yet passed, it will be part of the discussion during the 85th legislative session.
What will it mean if Texas becomes a constitutional carry state? Texans will no longer need to have a permit to carry a firearm. Currently, Texans do not need a permit to purchase a firearm and are not required to register their firearm with the state, they can carry as long as they have an LTC. Constitutional carry would eliminate the need for the LTC, permitting concealed/open carry for any Texan who legally owns a handgun. More on the potentials of constitutional carry in Texas in Justin’s interview with the CW news.
Open carry states
A full list of US states that allow the open carry of handguns appears below. Particular restrictions and requirements about open carry vary on a state-to-state basis. Do not open carry in any of these states without first becoming familiar with the laws of that state.
Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas Colorado (Exception: Denver) Connecticut Delaware Georgia Hawaii Idaho Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana
Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri (Exceptions in some cities) Montana Nebraska (Exceptions in some cities) Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico North Carolina North Dakota
Ohio Oklahoma Oregon (Exceptions in some cities) Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia (Exception: Charleston) Wisconsin Wyoming
Restricted Carry Signs
The following sign or signs must be posted on the property or at the entrance to the building, indicating that entry is forbidden;
TRESPASS BY HOLDER OF LICENSE TO CARRY CONCEALED HANDGUN
TRESPASS BY LICENSE HOLDER WITH AN OPENLY CARRIED HANDGUN
WEAPONS WARNING SIGN – RED– 51%– ON-PREMISE RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS
WEAPONS WARNING – BLUE– OFF-PREMISE RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS