Texas has a reputation for being very respectful and supportive of gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment, and the laws reflect that attitude. Many Texans own a firearm for both sporting uses and personal protection. There are more gun dealers in Texas than in any other state. There are very few restrictions on owning and carrying a gun, but there are some. Knowing your gun rights in Texas will keep you within the law and out of trouble.
Owning & Purchasing Firearms
Texans and their legislators know that owning a gun is a fundamental God-given right recognized in the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, no special permits or licenses are required to buy and own a gun, and there is no waiting period or firearms registration. Nor is a universal background check required for personal private sales.
Firearm Restrictions In Texas
Although there aren’t many, there are a few common-sense restrictions on firearm sales and purchases in Texas, including the following:
- Those convicted of a felony or confined to a penitentiary cannot own a gun. However, it’s possible to have a felony conviction expunged. An experienced attorney can assist with having that done.
- People under the age of 18 cannot buy a firearm unless they have the written permission of a parent or legal guardian.
- Dealers, importers, and licensed firearm manufacturers are required to conduct a background check before selling or transferring ownership of a gun.
- Weapons covered under the National Firearms Act (NFA), including machine guns, silencers, sawed-off shotguns, armor-piercing ammo, and explosive devices are illegal to own under the regulations and provisions of federal law.
Carrying A Firearm
Starting in 2016, Texas laws authorize valid handgun license holders to carry visible handguns on their person in a shoulder or belt holster, provided that they also carry a valid handgun license, referred to as a “LTC” or “License to Carry”. While “open carry” is now legal under these provisions, Texas law does prohibit the display of a firearm in a public place in a “manner calculated to alarm”.
Unlawful Carry Locations
Even under the new License to Carry statute, Texas law still prohibits the carrying of a firearm in certain designated gun-free zones, including:
Churches and other religious centers
Public sporting events
Businesses that derive more than 51% of revenue from alcohol sales including retail stores, bars, and nightclubs
In addition, businesses and property owners may ban firearms on their premises.
Stand Your Ground Law
This legal concept, also known as the Castle Doctrine, is observed by the state of Texas. This means that it is legal for a resident to apply deadly force to defend themselves and protect their property against unlawful intrusion.
Texas statutes require that those using or carrying a gun must do so in a responsible manner and not be intoxicated while doing so. Pointing a gun at an individual, even unloaded, is a misdemeanor, and firing one at a person, building, house, or vehicle is a third-degree felony.
If you’ve been arrested for a firearms offense or have questions about your Texas gun rights, the attorneys at Townsend, Gebhardt, & Eppes, PLLC, can help. Contact us to schedule a free and confidential consultation.