Texas has, for a long time, been known as one of the most accepting states for firearms. Non-Texans assume that it’s legal to conceal carry in the state without having to go through a rigorous permit process.
This is false.
Texas gun laws do have checks and balances, but it is perfectly legal to open carry shotguns and rifles in the state. Exceptions do exist in gun-free zones, and this would be zones that are protected under federal or state law. School properties, for example, do not allow conceal carry, with some exceptions in place to protect students.
Private Gun Sales and Texas Law
Texas makes obtaining a gun easy, and the state has very little restrictions on private gun sales.
A private gun sale is allowed without:
- Background checks
- Firearm registration
Texas is one of the easiest states to obtain a handgun.
Texas Gun Laws: How to Get Your License to Carry
Texas will issue a license to carry (LTC) to residents and non-residents of the state. The license fee is currently $40 (subject to change), and the license is valid for a period of 5 years. Texas license to carry requirements are:
- 21 years of age
- 18 years of age if in the military
- 4 – 6 hours of instruction taught by a licensed instructor
Texas does allow non-residents to apply by mail or online to obtain their LTC in the state. A copy of a person’s license will be required, and a certificate of handgun proficiency that is no older than two years will be required.
Additional requirements include:
- No felony convictions
- No misdemeanor convictions (only certain convictions apply)
- No pending criminal charges (only certain charges apply)
- No chemical dependencies
- Person must not have certain psychological diagnoses
- Must meet all Federal Law requirements
An applicant must not be a fugitive of justice, and may not have had a Class A or Class B misdemeanor under Section 42.0.1 of the Penal code. Applicants must not be delinquent on child support payments or taxes, under a court protective order or fail to disclose a material fact when applying for the LTC.
If an applicant meets all of the requirements, he or she will then be able to proceed to the application process.
How to Apply for an LTC in Texas If All Requirements Are Met
If all of the requirements are met, you may apply for an LTC online or by mail. First-time applicants are meant to apply online for their license. Once you have submitted your online application, you’ll be required to schedule a fingerprinting.
This is in addition to the 4 – 6 hours of classroom training, plus passing a test and demonstrating proficiency when shooting. Training must be completed before an application can be accepted, and you must submit the Certificate of Training to Texas’ Department of Public Safety.
You’ll have to wait for your license to be received, and the department will issue most licenses within 60 days of receiving the completed application packet.
If there was an error with your application or a background check came back with an issue, you will be notified in writing of the issue.
Once issued, your permit will be valid for a period of five years.
How to Renew Your Texas License to Carry
You do have a right to renew your license.
The rules for renewal are:
- Renewals can be submitted as early as six months before the license expiration
- Renewals may be submitted up to 12 months after expiration
- Training classes will not need to be renewed
- Renewals can be made online
Texas will notify you six months before your license expiration. If you wait for 12 months after the expiration of your license to try and renew, you’ll have to submit the application as if you’re a first-time applicant.
The renewal fee is the same as the application fee: $40, which is subject to change.
Fees may be waived in some circumstances, such as if the applicant is a county jailer, active military member, peace officer or correctional officer.
Which States Honor Your Texas Permit?
Based off of the current Texas concealed carry reciprocity map, the following states will honor your Texas permit:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Keep in mind that just because a state will honor Texas permits, this does not mean that they will accept the laws of Texas. You must abide by the laws of the respective state when carrying.
The following states allow Texas permits with resident permits only:
- South Carolina
Permitless states allow for carry whether or not you have a license.
Texas Law and Location Restrictions With an LTC
Texas LTC does come with restrictions. Unlike other states, the state will allow for a more acceptable carry in many places, including:
- Rest areas
- Restaurants that serve alcohol
- Places of worship
- Some public colleges and universities
- State and national parks
- State and national forests
There’s always the exception in all locations that the location, such as the restaurant or public campus, may forbid conceal carry.
You will want to make sure that your permit is on you at all times when you carry in the state. Texas also allows all residents to have a firearm in their vehicles whether or not they have a permit or license so long as the weapon remains concealed.
- On school grounds, including public schools, high schools and professional sporting events
- Places of business where 51% or higher of sales are derived from alcoholic beverages
- On the premises of a court or government office
- Correctional facilities
- Secured airport areas
- If you’re intoxicated
- If your firearm is un-holstered
- Polling places
Any place which does not prohibit firearms under state or federal law will not allow for Texas LTC. All No Weapons sign will force the law in the state, and this will prohibit handguns or firearms in any of the establishments in the state.
Currently, 14 states do not honor Texas licenses, and there are over 1.3 million people that have an active LTC in Texas.
Texas will accept CCW licenses from 44 states.
Under current Texas law, you do not need to inform an officer that you’re carrying a weapon. Officers may request that you hand over your firearm license along with your ID if you’re stopped in Texas.
If you have applied for your license but have not received the license in the mail, you will need to wait before carrying your firearm with you. Texas law does not state how many guns you’re allowed to carry at once, so anyone with a permit will be allowed to carry as many weapons as they see fit.
Firearms that are registered must only be registered to one person.
In the event that you move from the residence that is listed on your license, you will need to submit a request online to change your address. It’s very important that you update this information any time you move so that your license remains valid.
Licenses that are lost can be requested online, and a new license number will be provided for security reasons.