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Gun Laws

This legal research guide provides information on Texas and federal gun laws, including concealed handgun licenses and local regulation of firearms and shooting ranges.

Research from Home

If you have a library account in good standing, you can check out an OverDrive e-book title or access our remote databases. Don't have a library account? Texas residents can register for a library account from home! Learn more about how to register from home.

Below is an e-book title that may help you with your research on gun laws.

Resources at the State Law Library

Below are some of the library resources that can provide further guidance on this topic. The Texas State Law Library has many other resources in addition to the highlights we present below. Please call us at (512) 463-1722 if you have any questions about these materials.

Introduction to Gun Laws

State and federal laws and rules regulate many aspects of gun ownership, use, sales, and manufacturing. Understanding this area of the law can be challenging because firearm possession and discharge come up in a variety of contexts. For example, the Texas Penal Code stipulates where one may possess a firearm, the Texas Local Government Code authorizes municipalities to establish further restrictions, and federal law may impose additional restrictions. As this guide is intended to be a starting point in research, it is always wise to pose specific legal questions on this topic to an attorney.

2015 Open Carry and Campus Carry Laws

In 2015, the Texas Legislature enacted new laws related to “open carry” and “campus carry” for holders of handgun licenses (formerly called concealed handgun licenses or CHLs). The “open carry” legislation for handgun license holders, House Bill 910, has several effective dates, one of which is January 1, 2016. The “campus carry” legislation for handgun license holders, Senate Bill 11, has several effective dates, one of which is August 31, 2016.

The Texas Dept. of Public Safety has a summary of these new laws on their website. They summarize the effects of the new “open carry” and “campus carry” laws as well a few other bills that impact handgun license holders. The Texas Legislature also provides a brief summary of the “open carry” legislation as well as a more thorough analysis of the bill [PDF]. Similarly, the Legislature also provides a brief summary of the “campus carry” legislation as well as a more thorough analysis of the bill [PDF].

A few police departments across the state have issued press releases or public service announcements to help the public understand the new laws. For example, see the Pflugerville police department's announcement about “open carry.” The Houston police department has a Q&A about the laws. The Killeen police department produced an information video for the public.

The library has received questions regarding changes in law to the “30.06” signs and the new “30.07” signs. The new signage requirements can be found in House Bill 910. We also recommend this news article from the Dallas Morning News for detailed information about signage requirements.

The article “New Texas Gun Laws: What They Mean for Employers” provides a good summary of how the new laws affect employers, employees, and the workplace.

Texas Law

Below you will find references to areas of the Texas law that govern use of firearms and issues related to firearms sales. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, you may want to look at the “Plain English” resources on this page or speak to an attorney.

Federal Law

Explained in "Plain English"

Because Texas and federal law may not be easy to understand, below you'll find a collection of resources that help to explain the law in “Plain English.”

Licenses to Carry Handguns

Local Regulation of Firearms and Shooting Ranges

Who Can I Contact?

Legal Research Guides from the Texas State Law Library

The Texas State Law Library reference librarians have compiled legal research guides for specific areas of the law. These guides contain resources that can help you research a legal issue. The American Association of Law Libraries has a guide for Non-Lawyers on How to Research a Legal Problem [PDF]. If you have any questions, please contact us at (512) 463-1722 or at


The information provided on this page has been prepared for general information purposes only and should not be construed as, nor substituted for, legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for advice specific to your fact situation. Your local bar association or the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Information Service (1-800-252-9690) can assist you with locating an attorney.

Some of the electronic resources we refer to in this guide may be in PDF format. Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view PDFs.

Ask a Librarian

If you need help with a reference question, you may ask a librarian...

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  PO Box 12367, Austin TX, 78711-2367