Texas: Gun Laws Summary
Gun laws in Texas are designed to ensure the safety of all citizens. Texas is a “shall-issue” state, which means that concealed weapons licenses are issued at the state level by the Department of Public Safety. The law requires a four- to six-hour training course, passing a written exam and a shooting proficiency demonstration.
As of September 1, 2021, permitless concealed and open carry is legal for anyone at least 21 years old who may lawfully possess a handgun. The new law applies to both open carry in a holster and concealed carry, where no part of the firearm is visible. Texas law is quite specific in that openly carried handguns must be kept in a holster. Texas LTCs are issued to both residents and non-residents who are at least 21 years of age (18 if a member or veteran of the U.S. military).
There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual. Some areas are off-limits, including racetracks and secure areas of airports. Texas law is quite specific in that openly carried handguns must be kept in a holster. Since Texas allows permitless carry, any person 21 years of age and older who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit.
Texas is a Castle Doctrine and “stand your ground” state. There is no duty to retreat from any place a person has a right to be if that person is faced with a situation where he or she has to use force or deadly force to protect himself or herself or another.
Deadly Force in Defense of Person
The actor’s belief that deadly force was immediately necessary as described by that subdivision is presumed to be reasonable if the actor knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the deadly force was used unlawfully and with force entered or was attempting to enter the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; unlawfully and with force removed or was attempting to remove the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery or aggravated robbery. A person who uses deadly force within a residence, business, dwelling or vehicle is presumed to have held a reasonable belief of imminent death or serious bodily injury to self, family, a member of the household or a person visiting as an invited guest when the force is used against someone who unlawfully and forcibly entered the place.
Defense of Third Person
A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect a third person if under the circumstances as the actor reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be justified in using force or deadly force to protect himself or herself against the unlawful force or unlawful deadly force he or she reasonably believes to be threatening the third person one seeks to protect and the actor reasonably believes that his or her intervention is immediately necessary to protect the third person.
Protection of One’s Own Property
A person in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property.
Deadly Force to Protect Property
A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property if one would be justified in using force against the other; and when and to the degree he or she reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and he or she reasonably believes that the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property of a third person if, under the circumstances as he or she reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be justified in using force or deadly force to protect his or her own land or property.
Texas: Gun Laws at a Glance
|As of Sept. 1, 2021, permitless open carry is legal for anyone at least 21 years old who may lawfully possess a handgun, provided the handgun is carried in a holster. It is illegal to carry a handgun and intentionally display it in plain view of another person in a public place, unless the handgun is partially or wholly visible (openly carried) but is carried in a holster. [Texas Penal Code § 46.035]
|License to Carry
|Texas is a shall-issue state.
|Minimum Age for Concealed Carry License
|The minimum age to carry is 18 years old. On Jan. 10, 2023, the Office of General Counsel sent a memo to DPS offices directing them to no longer longer enforce the state law that bars adults under 21 from carrying handguns in public.
|Concealed Carry of Weapons Other Than Handguns
|No. A Texas LTC does not apply to weapons other than handguns.
|Taser or Stun Gun Ownership
|Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a license.
|Chemical Spray/Pepper Spray
|Yes. There is no statute prohibiting the purchase or use of small chemical dispensers of pepper spray sold commercially for personal protection. [Tex. Pen. Code § 46.05 (a)(3)]
|Handgun Magazine Capacity Restrictions
|No. Texas has no limit for handgun magazine capacity.
|Yes. Armor-piercing ammunition is prohibited. [Tex. Penal Code § 46.05(a)(2)]
|Yes. As of Sept. 1, 2021, permitless concealed and open carry is legal for anyone at least 21 years old who is not prohibited from lawfully possessing a handgun under federal law or Texas state law. The following individuals are prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under Texas state law: Any individual convicted of a felony cannot possess a firearm for at least 5 years after release from confinement, supervision or parole (whichever date is later); or after the period described above at any location other than the premises at which the person lives. Any individual convicted of Class A misdemeanor assault involving a member of the person’s family or household cannot possess a firearm for at least 5 years after release from confinement or community supervision (whichever date is later). A person, other than a peace officer, who is subject to a protective order cannot possess a firearm after receiving notice of the order until expiration of the order [Texas Penal Code § 46.04]. Provided a person has not been convicted of any of the following offenses within the preceding 5-year period: Assault [Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(1)]; Deadly conduct [Texas Penal Code § 22.05]; Terroristic threat [Texas Penal Code § 22.07]; Discharging a firearm in a public place [Texas Penal Code § 42.01(a)(7)]; or Displaying a firearm in a public place [Texas Penal Code § 42.01(a)(8)].
Texas: Carry Locations
|Storing Firearms in Private Vehicles in an Employee Parking Lot
|A public or private employer may not prohibit an employee who holds a valid concealed carry license from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition the employee is authorized by law to possess in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking area the employer provides for employees except in locations prohibited by state or federal law. This includes school districts or open-enrollment charter schools per Texas Education Code § 37.0815 and institutions of higher education per Gov. Code § 411.2032 provided that the firearm or ammunition is not in plain view. There are exceptions including oil and gas refineries. [Tex. Labor code § 52.061]
|Carrying a Concealed Handgun in a Vehicle
|Yes, without a license as of Sept. 1, 2021. It is an offense if it is in plain view, unless it is in a holster and you are either 21 years old or have a Texas LTC or a permit that Texas honors and provided you are not engaging in a criminal activity (other than a traffic violation). There are exemptions for peace officers, military, and other security and governmental professionals. [Texas Penal Code §§ 46.02(a-1) and 46.15]
|Carrying a Concealed Firearm at Roadside Rest Areas
|Yes, without a license for anyone at least 21 years old who may lawfully possess a handgun.
|Carrying a Concealed Firearm in State/National Parks, State/National Forests and Wildlife Management Areas
|Yes, without a license for anyone at least 21 years old who may lawfully possess a handgun. See the National Parks webpagee for links to each Park in Texas. Except no firearms are allowed on or across the land of the Lower Colorado River Authority [Tex. Parks & Wild. Code § 62.081], on or over the water of Murvaul Lake in Panola County [Texas Parks and Wild. Code § 283.022] or in the following game sanctuaries: * The state-owned riverbeds in LaSalle County [Texas Parks and Wild. Code § 82.712];
- The state-owned riverbeds in McMullen County [Texas Parks and Wild. Code § 82.722];
- The land area and water in the Aransas and Poesta rivers in Bee County [Texas Parks and Wild. Code § 82.732]; and
- The state-owned riverbeds of the Nueces, Frio, and Atascosa rivers in Live Oak County [Texas Parks and Wild. Code § 82.762]. | | Carrying a Concealed Firearm in Bars and Restaurants that Serve Alcohol | Carry is prohibited in businesses that sell alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption whose alcohol sales constitute more than 50% of gross receipts that display a red sign with, “51%” in large red letters superimposed over a warning that says possession of a concealed weapon on the premises is a felony. As of Sept. 1, 2021, only permit holders have a legal defense if effective notice is not given by the business. You can concealed carry in the restaurant area of an eatery that serves alcohol (those that make less than 51% of their profits from alcohol) without a license. [Texas Penal Code § 46.03(p)] | | Carrying or Possessing a Firearm on Hotel Property | As of September 1, 2021, unless possession of a handgun or other firearm or ammunition on hotel property is prohibited by state or federal law, a hotel may not adopt a policy prohibiting a hotel guest from:* Carrying or storing a firearm or firearm ammunition in the guest’s hotel room or in the guest’s vehicle located on the hotel property;
- Carrying a firearm or firearm ammunition directly en route to or from the hotel, guest’s hotel room or the guest’s vehicle;
A hotel may adopt a policy requiring a hotel guest carrying a firearm or firearm ammunition in a common area on the hotel property to carry a handgun in a concealed manner or carry a firearm or ammunition in a case or bag. [Tex. Pen. Code §§ 30.05, 30.06 and 30.07] |
Texas: Key State Laws
|Is my Texas driver’s license linked to my Texas carry license?
|Yes. Texas does show if the registered driver of the car has a license to carry (LTC). So when pulled over, the license plate trace shows that data. If the DL is run independently of a license plate it will also show that you have a LTC. [source]
|If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.
|Yes. As of Sept. 1, 2021, signage is complicated in Texas, and anyone carrying a firearm will need to understand the differences between the definitions of each sign. The Firearm Carry Act of 2021 creates two additional weapons signs: Texas Penal Code § 30.05 signs will indicate locations where just permitless carry of firearms is prohibited. It will be up to private individuals and businesses to decide what their policies will be moving forward regarding permitless carriers. Texas Penal Code § 30.06 signs that indicate locations where concealed carry permit holders cannot carry; Texas Penal Code § 30.07 signs that indicate locations where open carry for permit holders is prohibited; and 51% signs that indicate the establishment sells alcohol by the drink and receives more than 51% of its income from alcohol sales. Only concealed carry permit holders have a legal defense if effective notice has not been provided. Texas Penal Code § 46.15(p) Texas Penal Code § 46.03(o) signs will state “Pursuant to Section 46.03, Penal Code (places weapons prohibited), a person may not carry a firearm or other weapon on this property.” If this sign is posted in a conspicuous location, no firearms are allowed. Regardless of which sign is posted, once a person receives effective consent (either verbal or written notice) that entry on the property is prohibited, he or she must promptly leave or risk being charged with a misdemeanor. [Texas Penal Code § 30.05]
|Does Texas have a red flag law?
|No. Texas does not have a red flag law. [source]
|Does Texas state law define brandishing?
|No definition of brandishing was found in Texas law. however, a person commits disorderly conduct if he or she intentionally or knowingly displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm. [Tex. Pen. Code § 42.01]
|Does Texas issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents?
|Yes. The process is the same as for residents. [source]
|Does Texas allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?
|No, however the information is available to to any criminal justice agency. [source]
|Do you have a duty to inform a police officer that you’re carrying a concealed firearm in Texas?
|You have a duty to inform a law enforcement officer that you’re carrying a concealed firearm in Texas when an officer demands that you display identification, you must display both your driver’s license or identification and your handgun license. [Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.205]
|Does Texas have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?
|Yes, the state has preemption of firearms laws in Texas, except local municipalities may: Regulate the discharge of firearms within their limits, other than at a sport shooting range; Regulate the carrying of a firearm or air gun by a person other than a person licensed to carry a concealed handgun under Texas law at: A public park; A public meeting of a municipality, county, or other governmental body; A political rally, parade or official political meeting; and A non-firearms-related school, college, or professional athletic event. In addition, in any county building that houses a justice court, county court, county court at law, or district court, or in any office used by these courts, any person who possesses a firearm without the court’s written authorization, or without complying with any written regulation of the court, is subject to criminal liability. Based on an Attorney General opinion, counties may prohibit concealed handgun license holders from carrying concealed handguns in county parks and rapid transit authorities may prohibit concealed handgun licensees from carrying handguns while on public transportation. [Tex. Local Gov’t Code § 229.001(b)(6)][Tex. Local Gov’t Code § 291.010(c)]
|Does Texas have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or drugs?
|As of Sept. 1, 2021, carry is prohibited If you are intoxicated anywhere other than: On your own property or property under your control or on private property with the consent of the owner; or Inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft: That is owned by you or under your control; or With the consent of the owner or operator of the vehicle or watercraft. Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a-6) “Intoxicated” is defined as: Not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or Having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. [Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2)] As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgment, slow your reaction times or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences. [source]
Texas: Handgun Purchase and Possession
|Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Texas?
|No. Texas has no mandatory waiting period for handgun purchases.[source]
|Do handguns need to be registered in Texas?
|No. Texas does not require handgun registration.[source]
|What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Texas?
|You must be at least 18 years old to possess or transport a handgun in Texas.[Tex. Pen. Code § 46.06]
|Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home without a license?
|Yes. A license is not required in a person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control. “Premises” includes real property and a recreational vehicle that is being used as living quarters, regardless of whether that use is temporary or permanent.[Tex. Pen. Code § 46.02(a)]
|Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Texas?
|No. Permits are not required when buying a handgun in Texas. A Texas LTC qualifies as an alternative to background check requirements for up to 5 years from the date of issuance. Therefore, an LTC expedites a firearms purchase by allowing a licensee to not have to submit to and wait on the results of a background check.[source]
|Are background checks required for private gun sales in Texas?
|No. Private firearms transfers are not subject to a background check requirement, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions, including age restrictions, still apply. It is recommended that you retain any sales receipts to prove ownership of the gun.[source]
|Does my current Texas concealed carry license exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?