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New Handgun Amendments in Texas

Licensed gun holders can carry their firearm but must abide by certain rules and regulations set forth by the Texas Statutes. Violating these laws can lead to a charge of unlawful carry of a handgun by a licensed gun holder. A conviction could mean a class A misdemeanor and can even be enhanced to a felony charge if certain circumstances existed during the crime.

Now, as of September 1, 2019 there are new amendments to how licensed gun holders can carry their firearm. These changes have drastically widened the scope for areas where licensed gun holders can bring their weapons such as a church or locked in a car at a school parking lot. To learn more about the new handgun amendments in Texas, we urge you to assess the article written below for more information.

Firearms Crime Defense Attorney in Harris County, Texas

Texas has loosened the reigns on licensed gun holders by adding new amendments to their firearms regulations. These new defenses can be utilized in court if you’ve been charged with a firearms crime after September 1st, 2019. If you’ve been arrested for a weapons or firearms crime, then we highly suggest you gain experienced representation immediately.

A great option is to contact Horak Law. Our managing attorney, Matthew Horak, understands the ins and outs to firearms crimes. Additionally, he is always updated on all the newest legislative changes including the new amendments to gun laws made in Texas during 2019. Call (713) 225-8000 and learn more about our practice in the greater The Woodlands area including Conroe, Magnolia and Montgomery. 

Overview of the New Handgun Amendments in Texas


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What Is the New Texas Licensed Gun Holder Laws for 2019?

Many states in the U.S. have begun implementing stricter gun laws after deadly mass shootings such as the one in Dayton Ohio that killed 9 people and injured 27. However, Texas has taken a vastly different approach. In 2019, the state of Texas expanded gun laws in several areas including regulations on how concealed or licensed gun holders can carry their weapons. 

These changes can be found in the Texas Penal Code Section 46.14 and 46.035. The new amendments to Texas firearm laws for licensed gun holders include: 

  • Senate Bill 535 - Texans are now allowed to carry a firearm in a church, synagogue and other place of worship, unless it’s been banned by that place with proper signage;
  • House Bill 121 – Licensed gun holders won’t be arrested if they unknowingly enter an establishment that bans firearms and leave when given an oral signal to do so;
  • House Bill 1177 – The law regarding unlawful carry by a licensed gun holder doesn’t apply to a person who carries a handgun if:
    • They are evacuating a state or local area that’s been declared a state of disaster by the appropriate authorities; or
    • No more than 168 hours have passed since the state of disaster has been declared or more than 168 hours have elapsed since the declaration and the governor extended the disaster period in which a person can carry a handgun; or
    • Carry a handgun on a premise that would have been banned but now has been operating as an emergency shelter during the disaster and the person who is the authority at the shelter authorizes them to hold it;
    • Reentering the area following your evacuation from a state of disaster; and
    • The person is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm
  • House Bill 1143 – Licensed gun holders can now carry their firearm, ammunition, or handgun stored in a vehicle parked at a school and the district cannot prohibit them.
  • House Bill 2363 – A licensed gun holder can now also be a foster parent as the state of Texas will allow firearms to be stored in a foster home if:
    • They are stored together in the same locked location; and
    • If they are locked securely with a trigger locking device attached to the firearm
  • House Bill 302 – The newly passed bills has prohibited landlords from banning tenants who are licensed by the state to possess, carry, transport or store a firearm, any part of that firearm or ammunition in their:
    • Rental unit or apartment;
    • In their vehicle parked on the landlord’s premises;
    • In other locations the landlord has authority over including:
      • Entering or exiting the tenant’s rental unit;
      • Entering or exiting the leased premises; or
      • Enter or existing a vehicle on the leased premises or located in the designated parking area for the landlord’s tenants

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TX Penalties for Unlawfully Carrying a Handgun as a Licensed Gun Holder

While the state of Texas has expanded the defenses for people charged with unlawful carry of a handgun with a license, it doesn’t mean you can’t be charged. Violating Texas gun laws can lead to criminal charges and serious penalties such as jail or prison time. The severity of the penalties depends on the mindset of the defendant during the commission of the crime. 

In Texas, unlawfully carrying a handgun with a license is normally a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for a class A misdemeanor include the following: 

  • Up to one year in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $4,000 

If you willfully, knowingly, recklessly or intentionally violate licensed handgun regulations, then the crime is a third-degree felony. This applies even if the handgun was concealed or carried in a shoulder or belt holster. The penalties for a third-degree felony include: 

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

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Additional Resources 

Texas State Rifle Association – Visit the official website for the Texas State Rifle Association, otherwise known as TSRA. Access their site to learn more about their membership, gun laws in Texas, how to get involved and shooting disciplines for licensed gun holders.

Gun Laws in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about their firearms and weapons laws. Access the site to learn the elements of the crime, penalties and other crimes related to unlawful carry such as unlawful transfer or promotion of weapons.


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Defense Lawyer for Gun Crimes in The Woodlands, TX

If you or someone you know has been charged with carrying a gun unlawfully, then we suggest you have legal representation on your side. An unlawful carry charge can be taxing and lead to serious consequences, even if you had a license. A skilled attorney could utilize one of the new amendments made in 2019 to defend your case.

Contact Horak Law to speak to an attorney with years of experience and are supportive of licensed gun holders. He will extend his resources, knowledge and network to you, so you are proficiently prepared when you enter the courtroom. Call (713) 225-8000 to learn more and set up your first consultation free.  

Horak Law represents people throughout the greater Harris County area including Houston, Humble, Pasadena, Bellaire, and Tomball.


This article was last updated on November 22, 2019.

Our Office in The Woodlands
1790 Hughes Landing Blvd #400 The Woodlands, TX 77380 (281) 907-4990
Our Office in Houston
5300 Memorial Dr #750 A Houston, TX 77007 (713) 225-8000
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Matt Horak Matt Horak is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2014

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