Skip to Main Content
my account

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.

Carry of Firearms


Unlicensed Carry of Firearms

Before September 1, 2021, Texas law required people to have a license to carry if they wanted to carry a handgun either openly or concealed. In 2021, the Texas Legislature passed a law that removed the requirement to have a license to carry a handgun.

This is sometimes called "unlicensed carry," "permitless carry," or "Constitutional carry."

Note The new law took effect on September 1, 2021.

Who can carry a gun?

Handguns

As of September 1, 2021 (when HB 1927 took effect), Texans no longer need a license to carry in order to carry a handgun. As a CNN news article explains, the new law:

allows individuals 21 and older who can legally possess firearms in the state to carry handguns in public places without permits.

However, this new law does not extend the right to carry a handgun to anyone who was previously prohibited. 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

Before September 1, 2021, people needed to have a license to carry in order to carry a handgun in Texas. To read more about who can get a license to carry, see the License to Carry page of this guide.

Texas Laws

Understanding the Law

Long Guns

Texas law does not specifically put restrictions on who can carry a long gun such as a rifle. 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.

Where can you carry a gun?

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.

Places Guns Are Always Prohibited

Texas law makes some places always off-limits to firearms (both handguns and long guns).

As of September 1, 2021, HB 1927 has removed the requirement to have a license to carry in order to carry a handgun. The new law also consolidated the list of places where firearms are prohibited.

Texas Laws

Understanding the Law

Places Guns Might Be Prohibited

Private Property

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.

Schools and College Campuses

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.

Vehicles

See our page on Vehicles & Traveling for more information about carrying firearms in cars, boats, and other vehicles.

How can you carry a gun?

Handguns

People in Texas must carry a handgun in a holster. The holster does not have to be a shoulder or belt holster.

Before HB 1927 took effect on September 1st, 2021, people in Texas needed to have a license to carry a handgun and they needed to keep their handgun in a shoulder or belt holster.

Texas Laws

Understanding the Law

As this article from NOLO (a legal publisher) explains, even after the new 2021 law takes 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.

Long Guns

Texas law does not specifically say how you can carry a long gun such as a rifle. However, some people are prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm by law. See the Owning and Possessing section of this research guide for more information.

Disorderly Conduct

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;