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Texas’ Open Carry Gun Law

Texas’ Open Carry Gun Law

House Bill 910 (“HB 910”) became effective January 1, 2016.  The previous licensing structure permitted individuals to carry a concealed handgun under certain circumstances.  HB 910 amends the Alcoholic Beverage Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Education Code, Election Code, Family Code, Government Code, Health and Safety Code, Labor Code, Local Government Code, Occupations Code, Parks and Wildlife Code, and Penal Code to authorize a person who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun to also openly carry a holstered handgun.  In addition, HB 910 decreases the penalty for a license holder trespassing with a concealed handgun to a Class C misdemeanor and similarly creates a Class C misdemeanor offense for a license holder trespassing with an openly carried handgun.  However, the penalty for a trespassing offense is increased to a Class A misdemeanor if the trespasser ignores verbal notice that the person may not enter or remain on the property with a handgun.

Here are some important facts to know:

  • Not everyone can open carry. If you already have a valid concealed carry license (“CHL”), you do not need to do anything further. You are now also licensed to open carry if you would prefer.  You must have a CHL (now basically just a firearms license) to open carry. A CHL is now referred to as an LTC (license to carry).
  • The eligibility criteria to obtain a handgun license to carry has not changed: applicants must be 21 years old, pay a $140 fee, clear a criminal record check and complete a four-hour training course.
  • You must use a belt or shoulder holster to openly carry a handgun, even in a vehicle. The handgun must be in a holster while you are driving or otherwise stored from plain view.
  • You cannot be arrested or stopped solely for open carrying.  However, you can be asked to show your LTC.
  • Posting a Penal Code 30.06 sign ONLY means no CONCEAL carry on premises but open carry is allowed. Posting a Penal Code 30.07 sign ONLY means no OPEN carry on premises but conceal carry is allowed.  Posting both Penal Code 30.06 & Penal Code 30.07 signs means neither CONCEAL carry NOR OPEN carry are allowed on the premises.
  • As a general rule, with a LTC you can open carry unless it’s been prohibited by the private property owner. If you are asked to leave and refuse, you could be charged with criminal trespass and/or unlawful carry.  It is likely you could also lose your rights to carry a handgun if convicted of a trespass in this type of situation.
  • Schools, hospitals, sporting events, and nursing homes are still gun-free zones.
  • You cannot carry a handgun under any circumstance into an establishment that derives 51 percent of their revenue from alcohol.
  • In an airport, licensed gun owners can display guns in the public areas only; typically includes baggage and ticket areas, as well as garages and sidewalks.  You cannot open carry into a security checkpoint areas or boarding area.
  • It’s still legal in Texas to carry a long gun without a license. However, police have the duty to stop and ask questions.  HB 910 only pertains to handguns, not long rifles.

 

Sources: Texas House Bill 910, Open Carry Texas, The Texas Rifle Association, The Texas Restaurant Association, Texas Department of Public Safety, Central Texas Gun Works

 

30.07 Sign30.06 Sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy Lambie

Phone: 281-367-1222

Fax: 281-210-1361

[email protected]

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