Article 1, Section 23 of the Texas Constitution states:
“Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.”
Below is a list of proposed and active laws in Texas:
|Universal Gun Registration (a.k.a. Universal Background Checks)||No|
|“Red Flag” Gun Confiscation||No|
|Permit to purchase firearms||No|
|Permitless concealed carry (handgun)||Yes (21+)|
|Permitless open carry (handgun)||Yes (21+)|
|Permitless open carry (long gun)||Yes (18+)|
|Restaurant carry||Partial ban|
|Mandatory firearms insurance||No|
|Stand your ground||Yes|
|“Assault weapons” ban||No|
|State firearms preemption law||Yes|
|Second Amendment sanctuary state||Limited|
Texas is known as a shall-issue state, which means that concealed weapons licenses are issued at the state level by the Department of Public Safety. In Texas, there is no requirement for a permit, background check, or firearms registration when purchasing a handgun from a private individual.
Recent legislative changes have expanded the rights of Texans regarding carrying handguns. As of September 1, 2021, permitless concealed carry and open carry are legal for individuals who are at least 21 years old and lawfully possess a handgun. This applies to both open carry in a holster and concealed carry, as long as no part of the firearm is visible. It is important to note that openly carried handguns must be kept in a holster according to Texas law.
To obtain a Texas License to Carry (LTC), individuals must meet certain requirements. Both residents and non-residents who are at least 21 years old (or 18 if a member or veteran of the U.S. military) are eligible to apply. The process involves completing a four- to six-hour training course, passing a written exam, and demonstrating proficiency in shooting. While LTCs grant individuals the right to carry handguns, there are certain places that are off-limits, such as racetracks and secure areas of airports.
Regarding reciprocity, Texas allows permitless carry, which means that any individual who is at least 21 years old and legally able to possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm without a license or permit. This provision allows for greater flexibility and freedom for law-abiding citizens.
In a recent development, United States District Judge Mark T. Pittman ruled that 18 to 20-year-olds in Texas must be allowed to carry a handgun outside their homes. The ruling allows them to obtain a Texas LTC, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been directed to issue LTCs to individuals who are at least 18 years old. This memo from the Office of General Counsel, dated January 10, 2023, instructs DPS offices to no longer enforce the state law that previously barred adults under 21 from carrying handguns in public. This ruling created a gray area for Constitutional Carry of handguns by 18-20 year olds, and we advise individuals to obtain an LTC if they wish to carry a handgun until there is more clarity on this issue.
These changes reflect an ongoing effort to uphold the rights of law-abiding individuals in Texas and ensure that they can exercise their Second Amendment rights responsibly. It is important for residents of Texas to stay informed about the evolving laws and regulations regarding firearm possession and carry in the state.