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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.


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., it's possible that gun purchasers may experience delays in federal background checks processed through the NICS.

Gun Stores & Shooting Ranges

Are gun stores and shooting ranges "essential" businesses?

Currently, Texas is deferring to federal guidance to determine which businesses are considered "essential." The U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued a publication titled The Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance which "identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability," and "also includes workers who support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure."

CISA's list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers includes:

  • "Workers supporting the operation of firearm, or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges."

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

ID Requirements When Purchasing Firearms

Waiver of Texas ID Expiration Dates

On March 18th, Governor Greg Abbott 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 December 15th, DPS announced that the waiver on expiration dates for Texas driver licenses will end on April 14, 2021.

Effect of Waiver on Firearm Purchases

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. The Office decided not to provide an opinion on whether Texas IDs that have expired after 3/13/2020 meet federal ID requirements for the sale of firearms. However, 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."

On December 15th, DPS announced that the waiver on expiration dates for Texas driver licenses will end on April 14, 2021.

Forms of ID Accepted for Firearms Transfers

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