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COVID-19 & Texas Law

This guide is updated to reflect information pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Information in this guide is subject to change at any time.


Note See the Firearms page of our Weather Emergencies guide for information related to ongoing natural disasters in Texas.

Can I carry a handgun without a license during a disaster?

Generally speaking, you must have a license to carry a handgun in Texas regardless of whether your handgun is carried openly or concealed. In 2019 the Texas Legislature passed a law that creates an exception to this rule for those who are in the process of evacuating from a declared state or local disaster area or those who are returning to that area after evacuating. The exception applies for 7 days after the initial disaster declaration is issued (unless the Governor specifically extends that time period). The law does not apply to those who are prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.

Masks and Weapons

We have been unable to locate a Texas law that would prevent someone from carrying a gun or other weapon while wearing a mask or other face covering.

Delayed NICS Background Checks Due to COVID-19

Due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., gun purchasers may experience delays in federal background checks processed through the NICS.

FFL dealers in Texas must request background checks through the FBI's NICS system. According to the FBI, "The Brady Act does not federally prohibit an FFL from transferring a firearm after the third business day expires [after the request was made], even if the NICS Section has been unable to provide a proceed response." At the State Law Library, our librarians have not been able to locate a law that would require FFL dealers to transfer a firearm after 3 business days when the background check remains delayed.

Gun Stores & Shooting Ranges

Are gun stores and shooting ranges "essential" businesses?

Can local governments exclude guns stores from their list of "essential" businesses?

ID Requirements When Purchasing Firearms

On March 18th, Governor Greg Abbot directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to temporarily waive expiration dates for driver licenses, commercial driver licenses, and other state-issued IDs.

On April 14, 2020, a member of the Texas House of Representatives asked the Texas Attorney General whether Federal Firearms Licensed dealers (FFLs) may sell firearms to Texans with expired licenses. On May 7th, the Attorney General's Office issued an opinion in response to this request. While they declined to comment on whether IDs that have expired after 3/13/2020 meet federal ID requirements for the sale of firearms, they did conclude that these IDs are not considered expired under state law "until 60 days after the DPS provides further public notice that normal driver's license operations have resumed."

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