You can now carry a handgun in Texas without a license. What to know about the new law

·2 min read

On Wednesday Texas will be a so-called “constitutional carry” state, allowing people to carry a handguns without a license.

Some Republicans have pushed for the law in the past, but the proposal didn’t have momentum until the this past legislative session that ended in May. Texas is now among at least 20 states that does not require a permit to carry a handgun.

Here’s what to know about the new law and what it means for carrying a handgun in Texas.

What does the law do?

Before people were required to have a License to Carry to carry a handgun. House Bill 1927 removes that requirement. Texans have already been able to carry rifles without a license.

Who can carry without a license?

Anyone 21 or older can carry a handgun without a license, as long as they’re not otherwise prohibited from carrying. For instance, a person convicted of a felony is precluded from carrying a handgun. The law also stipulates that a person would be barred from carrying without a license if convicted in the past five years of misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury, deadly conduct, terroristic threat or disorderly conduct by displaying or discharging a firearm.

Where can’t I carry a handgun without a license?

Private businesses can bar someone from carrying a gun without a license by posting signs. Other places where firearms are prohibited:

  • Schools

  • Polling places

  • Courts

  • Racetracks

  • Secured areas of an airport

  • Bars

  • High school, collegiate or professional sporting events

  • Correctional facilities

  • Nursing homes

  • Amusement parks

  • Open governmental meetings

Concealed carry with a license is permitted at Texas colleges and universities. Private universities can prohibit carrying firearms on campus.

Is training and a background check required?

To get a License to Carry in Texas — which remains an option for those who want one — applicants must undergo a criminal history background check and take a course on gun laws and firearm proficiency. For those wanting to carry without a license, training isn’t required, but the bill tasks the Texas Department of Public Safety with creating a free online course on firearm safety and handling.

Firearm purchases made at a retail store or through a dealer require a background check, according to a FAQ page on bill author Rep. Matt Schaefer’s website. A License to Carry can be used as an alternative to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, according to DPS.

Is permitless carry allowed for people from out of state?

Yes. The law applies equally to Texas residents and out-of-state visitors. One benefit of an LTC is that some states have reciprocity agreements with Texas , allowing for the carry of firearms in those states, according to DPS.

Is a holster required for permitless carry?

Visible handguns must be holstered. The type of holder is up to the carrier. House Bill 1927 removed the requirement for a shoulder or belt holster.

Have a question not answered about the new law? Email edearman@star-telegram.com.

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