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Can you carry a gun publicly in Texas?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | Gun Crimes

The gun law changes in 2021 have allowed qualified Texans to carry a handgun in public, even without a license or training. However, despite relaxing laws on gun ownership and open carry, the state still places several restrictions regarding how and where handgun owners can bring their firearms.

Who is qualified to own a gun?

Texas law states that anyone who is at least 21 years old, is of sound mind, and is free of felony or misdemeanor charges and convictions may own a handgun. Moreover, the law prohibits dealers from selling firearms to someone with a history of violence.

Despite these restrictions, gun ownership in Texas remains to be a controversial topic. Many worry that dropping license and training requirements would allow more people access to firearms and increase the likelihood of threatening situations. Gun owners must abide by concealment laws at all times to prevent panic and maintain public safety.

Where can you publicly carry a gun?

Although open carry of guns is legal in Texas, owners must nevertheless keep them hidden from public view by using a belt or shoulder holster. In addition, the state restricts carrying a gun to a small number of locations:

  • Within the gun owner’s premises or one that is under their control
  • On the gun owner’s personal motor vehicle or watercraft
  • Public places that do not have a Penal Code 30.05 signage
  • Around national parks and wildlife refuges

Gun owners may face an unlawful carrying of a weapon charge if they are found with a firearm in these locations:

  • Places of business that receive 51% or more of their income from the sale of alcohol
  • School premises
  • Rooms where an open governmental meeting is being held
  • Amusement parks
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Mental hospital
  • Racetracks
  • Professional or collegiate sporting events
  • Secured areas inside an airport
  • Federal facilities
  • Civil commitment facility

Whether guns make people safer or not is still up for debate. However, it is in the best interest of gun owners to err on the side of caution and avoid getting into threatening situations.