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Gun Laws

This guide provides information on Texas and federal gun laws including: background checks, open carry, concealed carry, handgun licenses, restrictions for felons, and local regulation of firearms and shooting ranges.

Background Checks


Note Background check procedures may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the Firearms page on the Disasters & Emergencies research guide for current information related to COVID-19 and background checks.

Texas and Federal Laws & Regulations

Explained in "Plain English"

See other pages of this guide for more information on buying and transferring firearms, restrictions on felons, and licenses to carry firearms.

When is a background check required? What laws govern background checks?

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

Medical Marijuana and Gun Rights

Under the restrictions of the Gun Control Act, it is illegal for a person "who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance" to possess, receive, or transport firearms or ammunition.  This has raised concerns that participating in a medical marijuana program may cost patients their rights to possess firearms. The following links provide more information and context, but do not yet address how Second Amendment rights may be affected by the use of CBD or hemp-derived products as that is still a developing area of law.

Failed Background Checks

There are many reasons a person might fail a background check or otherwise be barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Below is information about some possible reasons. For information about restrictions on convicted felons, see the felons and firearms page of this guide.

Why might a person fail a background check?

Appeals Process