Open carry in Texas is a big deal–in the Lone Star State, U.S. citizens fully exercise their 2nd Amendment rights to own and carry firearms. The U.S. ranks #1 in the world for gun ownership, with between 200 to 350 million guns in the country. In Texas, 45.70% of its residents own a gun, with 588,696 registered guns in the state.
The conditions of the right to bear arms are set forth by each individual state. In some states a person may obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon, meaning it is not visible to others around them.
Other states, including Texas, have open carry laws. This means the person may carry their firearm in a holster or on a sling. The gun is easily accessible to the owner and visible to others.
Some states require a person to obtain a license before they may carry a gun. Other state gun laws allow people to openly carry their weapons without a license.
Texas gun laws regarding open carry changed on September 1, 2021. Let’s take a look at the changes made and what the open carry laws are in Texas.
LICENSE TO OPEN CARRY IN TEXAS
Prior to September 1, 2021, Texas required people to obtain a license to carry a handgun concealed or holstered. Licensing requirements included taking a training class, passing a written exam, passing a shooting test, and submitting to fingerprinting.
The new law no longer requires a license. The loosening of restrictions leaves some citizens with concerns about public gun safety.
Currently, the only legal requirements are the firearm must be concealed or holstered and the person carrying must be over age 21.
There are restrictions that prohibit some people from owning or carrying a firearm. This includes people who have a felony or domestic violence conviction.
TRANSPORTING IN VEHICLE OR WATERCRAFT
You may not knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly carry an unholstered handgun in plain view in a vehicle or watercraft. There are no restrictions on carrying a long gun, meaning a rifle or shotgun, in an automobile or on a boat.
Even in places of which generally prohibit the possession of firearms, there are allowances for storing firearms and ammunition in a vehicle. This includes places of business or educational institutions where guns are prohibited.
Employees of those facilities may transport and store firearms and ammunition in their personal, locked vehicle even when parking in a lot, garage, or other employee parking area. The owner is must keep the vehicle locked and the firearm and ammunition out of plain view.
In 2011 the State of Texas passed a law with prohibits the Department of Family and Child Services from restricting foster parents from carrying handguns in their vehicles when transporting a foster child. There are laws in place for the protection of foster children regarding firearms in the home, as set forth in Texas Administrative Code §749.2961.
TEXAS HB 1927
On September 1, 2021, House Bill 1927 made it legal for most Texas citizens over age 21 to carry a concealed handgun or open carry in a holster without a permit. The new gun laws in Texas allow handguns to be carried as follows:
- Places of business if no visible signage is posted prohibiting handguns
- In city facilities such as libraries and recreation centers
- Inside the Texas State Capitol
- In public, such as walking down the street
- Method of carrying may be concealed or visible to others
- There is no limit on the number of handguns a person may carry at any time. There are places where firearms are not permitted, including:
- Amusement parks
- Correctional facilities
- Civil commitment facilities
- Hospitals, nursing facilities, mental hospitals
- Rooms where government meetings are being held
- Secured areas of an airport
- Polling places on voting days
- Places of business with visible signage prohibiting guns
- Businesses permitted by TABC deriving 51% or more of their proceeds from alcohol sales
- High school, college, interscholastic, or professional sporting events—the exception is if the person is a participant in an event that involves weapon usage
The above facilities do not have to post “no carry” signs. Bringing a weapon onto a property where firearms are prohibited is a violation of law pursuant to §46.03 of the Texas Penal Code.
NEW RESTRICTIONS ON OPEN CARRY IN TEXAS
HB 1927 includes several changes and additions to the penal code you need to be aware of.
If you carry a firearm while intoxicated you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Upon conviction, you may receive up to 365 days in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Any gang member with a firearm in a vehicle is now guilty of a third-degree felony. A conviction may result in serving between 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Disarming of citizens by peace officers is allowable if the officer believes it is necessary to protect the person in possession of the firearm, another individual, or the officer. If the officer finds that the person did not commit a carry violation and is not a threat to anyone, they must return the handgun to its owner prior to leaving the scene.
Expungement of records is now allowable for anyone with a conviction of unlawfully carrying a firearm prior to September 1, 2021.
If you find yourself under arrest for any reason, your first call needs to be to a criminal defense lawyer.
Many people under arrest for a crime they did not commit believe that by being open and honest with detectives they will be released.
Even when guilty, people believe they can outsmart law enforcement.
Either way, detectives are experts at getting people to talk and confess, even to crimes they did not commit. They conduct interrogations day after day, week after week. How often do you get arrested and practice your answers?
If you find yourself under arrest, you need to call the best criminal defense attorney you can find. They will be present during interrogations, gather evidence in your defense, negotiate get your charges dropped, and present your case in court. Check their website to find out what kinds of reviews they receive and schedule a consultation
SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION
Even if you believe you are within your legal rights, there is always a possibility that when you open carry a “concerned” citizen may misinterpret your intentions. You may find yourself the brunt of a person’s hostility, falsely accused, arrested, and in jail.
Contact Gallian Firm LLC today. Gregg Gallian is a former prosecutor and has had hundreds of cases dismissed. Have a free consultation and case review with the top criminal defense lawyer for charges related to open car or other gun charges in the Dallas area. Gregg Gallian will fight to protect your rights.
It doesn’t matter if your actions were within the law or whether you took a few steps in the wrong direction. When you find yourself facing a criminal charge you need Gallian Firm LLC criminal defense lawyers on your side. You can reach us by phone at (214) 432-8860 or schedule your free consultation using our online form.