Starting Sept. 1, Texans who are 21 and older who are legally able to purchase a handgun no longer need a license to carry it openly or concealed. No training is needed either.
However, the new law does not affect the License to Carry a Handgun Program, established by Government Code, Chapter 411, Subchapter H.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is still required to process handgun license applications, conduct background checks, and produce a laminated license for those who qualify.
Where can I carry a handgun if I have a license in Texas?
Despite the new permitless carry law, these locations do not allow guns.
- Sporting Events
- Polling places
- Government offices
- Jails and prisons
- Federal property
- National Park buildings
- Private businesses that post signs
But with an official license, there are some exceptions.
In an airport, licensed holders have protections related to the accidental carrying of a firearm in the secured area. Also, licensed holders can carry in a Government meeting legally.
Businesses may also allow licensed carry if they choose to. Signs outside of an establishment with penal codes 30.06 and 30.07 will still prohibit concealed and open carry at the locations they are posted. But with the new law in place, 30.05 establishes a new option for property owners to allow licensed holders to carry.
What else can I use a Texas handgun license for?
The Texas DPS says a handgun license can be used as an alternative to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check. The NICS check process is meant to deter criminals and others who are not otherwise eligible from purchasing a gun. Prospective buyers are told to fill out an ATF form so that the NICS staff can perform a background check on the buyer and verify their eligibility.The FBI's website says, since launching in 1998, more than 300 million checks have been done, leading to more than 1.5 million denials.
For a Texas Handgun License instructor, a handgun license can be used as proof of instructor certification.
A judge or prosecutor in Texas would also accept it as a form of identification.
A veteran with a handgun license could use it to obtain veteran discounts at businesses that choose to offer them.
It can also be used as personal identification and is a designated document for voter ID.
Can I carry a handgun in another state?
Certain states have an agreement with Texas that recognizes the Texas Handgun license. Each reciprocity agreement has its own criteria per state. All those agreements are outlined on the Texas Department of Public Safety website.
How much does a license cost?
A handgun license costs $40 in the state of Texas and lasts for five years. This averages out to about $8 per year.