Although the Texas Constitution protects the right to bear arms for legal self-defense, it also gives the state the power to regulate carrying guns in order to prevent crime (Tex. Const. art. I, § 23). The state has no laws that restrict carrying rifles and shotguns, other than general gun prohibitions for a few people (including recent felons) and at at few places (such as K-12 schools). And as of September 1, 2021, Texas no longer requires a license to carry a handgun for anyone 21 or older. Read on for details about the state's gun carry laws.
Although Texas still issues licenses to carry handgun, you no longer need a permit to carry a handgun in most places, unless you are younger than 21 or can't legally have any gun.
However, it is still a crime in Texas to display a handgun on purpose in a public place, in another person's plain view, unless the gun is holstered. It's also illegal to carry a handgun under the following circumstances:
(Tex. Penal Code §§ 46.02 (2021).)
It's a crime to have any guns in certain Texas locations, including:
Violations are either a third-degree felony or a Class A misdemeanor, depending on the location. (Tex. Penal Code § 46.03 (2021).)
Texas law specifically allows license holders to carry concealed handguns on post-secondary school campuses, except on portions of the campuses of private institutions that have established rules prohibiting concealed handguns in certain areas, as long as the schools have posted proper notices about the prohibition.
It's also a crime for a license holder to carry a handgun openly (even in a holster) on the premises of any institution of higher education that has prohibited open carry and has posted proper notices. (Tex. Penal Code § 46.03 (2021).)
If you've been charged a crime for violating the Texas rules on carrying guns, you should consult with a qualified criminal defense lawyer who can help you prepare the best defense possible.
Look Out for Legal Changes
States can change their laws at any time, but you can check the current Texas statutes by using this search tool. However, court decisions may also affect the interpretation and application of laws, which is another good reason to speak with an attorney if you're worried about actual or potential criminal charges for carrying a gun.
Updated July 19, 2021