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The library cannot help you determine whether you are legally allowed to carry or possess a firearm. If you have questions about your eligibility under the law, be sure to ask an attorney.
As of 2021, people who qualify under the law can carry a handgun in a public place in Texas without a license to carry (LTC). Texans can still apply for an LTC since it may carry additional benefits. See our License to Carry page for more info.
Sections 46.02 and 46.04 of the Texas Penal Code describe unlawful carry and possession of a firearm. Generally, to carry a handgun in public in Texas without an LTC, a person must:
These changes did not give the right to carry a handgun to anyone who was prohibited before the amendment took effect. Section 2 of HB 1927 states:
persons who are currently prohibited from possessing firearms under state and federal law will not gain the right to possess or carry a firearm under this legislation
Texas law does not specifically put restrictions on who can carry a long gun such as a rifle or shotgun. However, some people are prohibited from owning or possessing any firearm by law. See the Owning and Possessing section of this research guide for more information.
Generally speaking, people in Texas can carry guns wherever guns are not prohibited. Some places are always off-limits. At other types of places, the property owner or the person in control of the property can choose whether to allow guns.
Texas law makes some places always off-limits to firearms (both handguns and long guns).
The law was amended in 2021 to remove the requirement to have a license to carry in order to carry a handgun. The amendment also consolidated the list of places where firearms are prohibited.
Texas law gives most private property owners the power to choose whether they want to allow guns on their property or not. If property owners want to ban guns, they generally need to let people know by posting specific signs or by giving people notice another way.
Certain businesses and other places that are considered "prohibited places" for firearms under Penal Code Sec. 46.03 have different rules for giving notice that guns are not allowed (for example, hospitals, racetracks, and amusement parks).
See the pages of this guide on Businesses & Private Property and Religious Property for more information about how private property owners can prohibit guns.
There are restrictions on carrying firearms at schools and college campuses. HB 1927, which removed the requirement to have a license to carry a handgun, did not eliminate these restrictions. See our page on schools and college campuses for more information.
See our page on Vehicles & Traveling for more information about carrying firearms in cars, boats, and other vehicles.
People in Texas carrying a handgun that is partially or wholly visible must carry it in a holster. Before the law changed in 2021, people in Texas needed to have a license to openly carry a handgun and they needed to carry their handgun in a "shoulder or belt holster."
Now, a license is not required to carry openly. Section 46.02 (a-5) of the Texas Penal Code now only uses the term "holster," rather than "shoulder or belt holster." The law does not provide a definition of the word "holster."
Texas law does not place similar holster requirements on a handgun being carried in a concealed manner.
As this article from legal publisher Nolo explains, even with the 2021 changes in effect,
[...] it is still a crime in Texas to display a handgun on purpose in a public place, in another person's plain view, unless the gun is holstered.
Texas law does not specifically say how you can carry a long gun such as a rifle or shotgun. However, some people are prohibited from owning or possessing any firearm by law. See the Owning and Possessing section of this research guide for more information.
Texas's "disorderly conduct" law also regulates how people can carry a firearm.
Section 42.01 of the Texas Penal Code says:
(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly: [...] (8) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm;