Texas Gun Laws
Texas is well-known for being one of the nation’s most gun-permissive states. There are very few restrictions on hardware and ammunition, and Texas makes obtaining a gun extremely simple for most citizens. With a permit, you may carry a concealed firearm in Texas. As a ‘shall-issue’ state, it is very easy to be approved for such a permit. Texas’ longstanding history of defending the right bear arms has made it an ideal state for many firearms enthusiasts and hunters.
- Gun Laws at a Glance
- Firearm License Requirements
- Background Checks
- Gun Shows
- Ammunition and Hardware Restrictions
- Prohibited Persons
- Prohibited Places
- Concealed Carry Laws
Texas Gun Laws at a Glance
|Concealed Carry Premit Required||Yes|
|Open Carry Premitted||Yes with license|
|Waiting period before purchasing||No|
|Lost and Stolen Firearm Reporting||No|
|Firearms License Required for Purchasing||No|
|Universal Background Check||No|
|Large Capacity Magazine Ban||No|
Firearm License Requirements
Texas does not require gun owners to obtain any kind of license. Any resident of Texas that is 18 years old and is not a felon can possess a firearm.
Prior to 2016, the handgun carry permit in Texas was called a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). The permit is now known as a License To Carry (LTC). Individuals who hold a valid Texas CHL or LTC are allowed to openly carry handguns in public with some exceptions. For all qualified applicants, permits are issued on a non-discretionary basis. Texas gun laws are more focused on how and where guns can be carried rather than on limiting gun ownership.
Texas state laws require that an individual must be 18 years old to purchase a long gun. When buying from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) dealer, an applicant must be 21 years old to purchase a handgun. However, in the state of Texas, a private sale between individuals who are not FFL dealers requires only a minimum age of 18 for a handgun purchase.
Texas has no law requiring firearms dealers to perform background checks. Because of this, Texas firearms dealers must initiate the federally-required background check by directly contacting the FBI.
Texas does not require private sellers to initiate background checks prior to the transfer of a firearm.
Texas does not regulate gun shows.
Hardware and Ammunition Restrictions
|Assault Weapons||Not restricted|
|50 Caliber Rifles||No restrictions.|
|Machine Guns||Texas prohibits machine guns.|
|Large Capacity Magazines||No restrictions.|
|Ammunition||Texas prohibits armor-piercing ammunition.|
Texas prohibits the possession of a firearm by anyone convicted of a felony after July 15, 1994. Texas also prohibits the possession of a handgun by anyone convicted of a felony after January 1, 1975.
|Schools||Texas law prohibits intentionally bringing any firearm onto the physical premises of a school or educational institution, or on any grounds on which a school activity is taking place.||Texas allows concealed carry license holders to keep firearms (and ammunition) out of view in a locked, privately owned vehicle on school grounds.|
|Vehicles||Texas does not have laws that regulate the carrying of rifles or shotguns in motor vehicles. In addition, the state of Texas does not require a valid license to carry a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle that is owned by or being controlled by the individual who is in possession of the firearm. Long guns do not have to be concealed.||Handguns can be loaded and within reach as long as they are concealed.|
Concealed Carry Laws
|“No Gun” Signs||Enforced|
|State Park Carry||Permitted|
Obtaining a Concealed Carry License
Texas is a “shall issue” state. This means that the governing body must issue a concealed carry permit to a given applicant if certain qualifications are met. Texas permits the carrying of a concealed handgun on one’s person, or concealed in a shoulder or belt holster, if the person is also carrying a valid License to Carry.
|Requirements for a Concealed Carry License|
|An applicant must meet the following criteria:
Concealed Carry Firearms Training
To obtain a license to carry a handgun in Texas, an applicant must attend classroom and field training with a Texas Qualified LTC Instructor. The courses will last for a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 6 hours, and the applicant must pass both a written examination and a shooting evaluation. The classroom portion of the training may be completed online, but the individual must then attend one to two hours of range instruction and demonstrate competency when using a handgun. During classroom training, applicants will learn about non-violent dispute resolution, laws that pertain to weapons, handgun storage safety, criminal liability, and other topics.
The cost of training will vary depending on the LTC instructor, and this fee does not typically include the cost of ammunition and other supplies that are required for the course. Once the training course is completed, an LTC candidate must submit an application, fingerprints, a fee, and specific documents used to conduct a criminal background check. LTC application fees are discounted or waived for veterans and active members of the military. The handgun permits are initially valid for four years, and renewed licenses are valid for five years.
Texas has full reciprocity agreements with many states, which means that those states will honor a Texas LTC. However, there are some states that do not recognize a Texas handgun permit as being valid, which is usually due to stricter licensure requirements in those jurisdictions. Most of the reciprocity agreements have residency restrictions. For example, in some states, the license holder must be a non-resident of the reciprocal state for the Texas LTC to be considered valid.
All non-resident permits from states that have reciprocity agreements with Texas will be accepted by the state of Texas as long as the permit holder is at least 21 years old.
There are 36 states the will honor a Texas LTC License:
Residence Licenses: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Non-Resident Licenses Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Handgun licenses that Texas will honor: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, New York City, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming
States that will not honor a Texas LTC license: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State, Districts of Washington D.C.
Concealed Carry Location Restrictions
The following entities are legally allowed to prohibit an LTC holder from carrying a weapon on their property:
- Government properties, including post offices
- Educational institutions, both public and private
- Bars, nightclubs, or any other business that sells alcoholic beverages onsite
- Local, state, and federal courthouses
- Jails, prisons, and other correctional facilities
- Election polling locations where voting is taking place
- Public sporting events
- Any location that displays a 30.06 or a 30.07 sign, including places of religious worship
- Racetracks for dog, horse, or auto racing
Disclaimer: While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.