Concealed Weapon Carry Laws
Some firearm owners prefer open carry, while others prefer concealed carry. The laws and requirements for each type of carrying can vary by state, location, and more. That’s why it’s crucial for gun owners to understand the difference and which rules apply to them based on their choice of carrying method.
When open carrying a firearm, it means that the firearm is visible. This is usually a holster on the waist but can be anywhere where it is easily observed. Someone who is concealed carrying a firearm may keep it in a pocket, bag, or somewhere else not visible to the public eye. The laws regarding concealed carrying tend to be stricter than open carry laws. Some states may require a permit for concealed carry but not for open carry. Concealed carry often carries other restrictions as well. Some states don’t recognize permits and licenses from other states. Just because someone is authorized to carry concealed in Texas doesn’t mean they will still have that authorization should they leave the state. These types of questions can be reviewed proactively with a defense attorney.
Texas Concealed Weapon Carry Laws Attorney
If you’ve recently been accused of carrying a concealed weapon, it’s likely you have a hundred questions running through your head. What are the corresponding penalties? Will I go to prison? Will these charges affect my personal life or career? This can all be very overwhelming which is its important to reach out to a skilled family law attorney who can address all of your concerns.
Matthew Horak at Horak Law has over a decade of experience in criminal law and can help you protect your rights. To receive skilled legal counsel from Horak Law, call (713) 225-8000 today.
Horak Law has two locations in Houston and The Woodlands, but we also accept clients in Harris County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, Waller County, Fort Bend County, and Liberty County, Texas.
- House Bill 1927
- Prohibited Locations
- Increased Penalties Under HB 1927
- Baseline Firearm Possession Requirements
- Additional Resources
HB 1927 was made effective in Texas on September 1, 2021. This law makes it legal for people twenty-one or older who meet specific requirements to purchase and possess a firearm in Texas without a license to carry—LTC. It doesn’t negate the restricted locations designated by Texas Penal Code § 46.03. Lawmakers attempted to include a “Savings Clause” that would apply to the restricted locations listed by § 46.03. The proposed Savings Clause would create an exception to § 46.03, allowing gun owners to carry into these places—only facing penalties if they were asked to leave and refused. This version of the Savings Clause didn’t make it into the final bill, but lawmakers did find a compromise. The law creates a defense for gun owners facing these charges if the restricted location didn’t have the proper signage informing them that it was a gun-free zone.
Clearly, HB 1927 makes purchasing and possessing a firearm in Texas much easier than in most other states. That’s why it is also referred to as the Firearm Carry Act of 2021. Part of HB 1927 required that the Texas Department of Public Safety publish a free firearm safety course, which can be accessed at the link above.
HB 1927 doesn’t change the fact that firearms and other weapons are prohibited from some locations in Texas. This list includes:
- Amusement parks
- For weapons laws, an amusement park must be in a large county, be seventy-five or more acres, and be open at least 120 days per year
- For weapons laws, a bar is any business that derives over fifty percent of its income from alcohol sales
- Correctional facilities (jails, prisons)
- Federal property
- Texas firearm carry laws don’t apply to federal land. Those seeking to concealed carry without an LTC on a federal property should do the proper research before proceeding
- Mental hospitals
- Nursing homes
- Open government meetings
- Private businesses
- Business owner’s choice. A business owner can prohibit unlicensed carry at their establishment with a sign or other communication.
- K-12, higher education, school buses, school activities
- Must have LTC to campus carry, which still comes with restrictions
- Secured section of an airport
- Exception for checked luggage
- Sporting events
- High school, collegiate, or professional
HB 1927 doesn’t just make it easier for people twenty-one and older in Texas to open or concealed carry a firearm without an LTC. It also increases some of the penalties for unlawful possession of a firearm. Previously, a convicted felon found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm would be convicted of a third-degree felony. HB 1927 makes this offense a second-degree felony with a minimum prison sentence of five years. Unlawful possession penalties have also increased for those with a conviction for a Class A family violence misdemeanor. This was previously a Class A misdemeanor but became a third-degree felony with the passage of HB 1927. Possessing a firearm while the subject of an active protective order was previously a Class A misdemeanor. HB 1927 also converted this offense into a third-degree felony. So, while this law does generally make it easier to purchase and possess a firearm in Texas, it also makes it a more serious crime to possess one when legally restricted from doing so. Contact a defense attorney for more information about how a prior criminal conviction could apply to one’s rights to possess a firearm in Texas.
There are basic requirements that someone must meet to lawfully possess a firearm without an LTC in Texas. These requirements apply regardless of HB 1927. They include:
- At least twenty-one years old
- Not a convicted felon
- No recent misdemeanor convictions under certain offenses
- No active protective orders
- Be sober
Therefore, HB 1927 doesn’t allow convicted felons or people under twenty-one years old to purchase or possess a firearm in Texas. Additionally, someone qualified to carry concealed in Texas without an LTC may not have those same rights in other states and should be careful while traveling with a firearm.
HB 1927 – The Texas law that makes it legal for people over twenty-one who meet other requirements to own a firearm without an LTC in Texas.
Texas Penal Code § 46.03 – The list of locations where it is prohibited to bring a weapon in Texas, including firearms.
Texas GOA HB 1927 Final Version – An overview by the Texas Gunowner’s Association of the changes brought by HB 1927 and how they affect gun owners in Texas.
Texas Department of Public Safety Firearm Carry Act Page – An information page from the Texas Department of Public Safety that includes free firearm safety information in response to the passage of HB 1927.
Houston Concealed Weapon Carry Laws Attorney | Harris County
Concealed weapon carry laws carry strict penalties under Texas law. If you have been arrested for possessing a concealed weapon, do not take these charges lightly. You may be sentenced to jail or prison and pay court fines. To retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who can represent you in court, contact Matthew Horak at Horak Law.
Call our office at (713) 225-8000 to learn more about your legal options. Horak Law has offices in The Woodlands and Houston, TX.