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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.

License to Carry


2021 Unlicensed Carry Law

As of September 1st, 2021, Texas law no longer requires people to have a license to carry (LTC) in order to carry a handgun in most public places. However, Texans are still able to to get a license to carry after the new law takes effect.

People with a handgun license may be able to take their gun some places where unlicensed people can't. For example, there are different rules for unlicensed carry and licensed carry near schools and at colleges. Also, businesses and other private property owners can usually choose whether to prohibit unlicensed carry, open carry by license holders, concealed carry by license holders, or some combination of those options.

Additionally, Texans may need a Texas License to Carry if they want to carry their handgun in another state that requires a handgun license and has a reciprocity agreement with Texas.

Texas License to Carry (LTC)

Texas Laws & Regulations

Understanding the Law

LTCs for 18 to 20-Year-Olds Under Protective Orders

Normally, Texans must be at least 21 years old in order to get a license to carry a handgun (LTC). However, in 2021, HB 918 gave Texans aged 18-20 the ability to get an LTC if they are protected under certain types of protective orders or magistrate's emergency protective orders.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

As the bill analysis for the new law explains,

H.B. 918 amends the Government Code to make a person who is at least 18 years of age but not yet 21 years of age eligible for a handgun license if the person meets all other license requirements except the minimum age under federal law to purchase a handgun and is protected under an active protective order or magistrate's order for emergency protection [...].

Victims can apply for an LTC under this new law if they are covered by a protective order for: family violence, stalking, compelling prostitution, or certain sexual or trafficking crimes.

Duty to Inform

Section 411.205 of the Texas Government Code is sometimes called the "duty to inform" law. The law says that if a person with a license to carry a handgun (LTC) is carrying a handgun and is asked by a peace officer to show ID, they must show both:

  • Their driver's license or other ID
  • Their handgun license

Also, if the person's handgun license has a "protective order designation" (see above for details), they must also display:

  • A copy of the protective order or magistrate's emergency protective order associated with the designation

Traveling With Firearms

Traveling to another state and wondering if you can take your gun? These resources explain Texas's handgun license reciprocity agreements with other states.