Texas Constitutional Carry Law
On June 16th, 2021 gun owners in Texas celebrated as a pivotal piece of legislation passed and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. The legislation was named House Bill 1927, also referred to as the Permitless Carry Bill, eliminated the requirement for Texans to obtain a license to carry before they can possess a handgun. Now, any person who is older than 21 can open or conceal carry a handgun. Only those who are prohibited by state and federal law like felons will be banned from owning any firearms after September 1st, 2021. The new legislation as a whole is often referred to as “constitutional carry.”
In addition to the changes in law above, Texas residents who were convicted for unlawfully carrying a firearm can now expunge their record entirely as long as the conviction occurred before September 1st, 2021. However, the new legislation also implemented some restrictions on where a firearm can be carried. If a person possesses a handgun in certain areas like another’s private property or a school, they may face criminal penalties.
To learn more about constitutional carry, please read the article below.
Houston Firearms Defense Lawyer | Texas Constitutional Carry Explained
If you’ve been accused of unlawfully carrying or violating a firearm/weapon regulation, contact Horak Law. Harris County firearms defense lawyer Matthew Horak has defended clients accused of any weapon or firearms related crimes in Texas. He can examine the details of your charges and develop a defense plan strong enough to pierce the prosecution’s argument. In addition, he thoroughly understands the legal complications set forth by HB 1927 passing.
Set up your first consultation with Matthew Horak by calling his office at (713) 225-8000. He has offices set up in The Woodlands and Houston, but accepts clients throughout Texas including Brazoria County, Waller County, Harris County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, and more.
- What is Constitutional Carry?
- New Police Procedures Due to Constitutional Carry
- Places Where Firearms Are Prohibited
- Expungement of Unlawful Carry Convictions
- Additional Resources
What is Constitutional Carry?
You may have heard the term “constitutional carry” on the news after HB 1927 passed and may be wondering what it means in context to Texas’s gun laws. Constitutional carry or open carry is basically the concept that a person is legally permitted to possess a firearm openly or concealed in a public place without a certified permit. Prior to HB 1927 passing, Texas residents had to seek out a license to carry a handgun and if they wanted to conceal carry they had to seek out a license specific to that.
The new bill allows Texas residents to open carry if they have the weapon secured in a holster. The bill also enhanced penalties for possession of a handgun by a felon and those convicted of a family violence offense. The bill also includes an age limit, which is 21 years old, and anyone under that age is prohibited from using, purchasing, or owning a handgun.
New Police Procedures Due to Constitutional Carry
Since residents may be armed with a handgun at any moment, the legislation also updated the powers of law enforcement. A key provision of the law states an officer is lawfully allowed to apprehend and disarm any person if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the individual could hurt the police, themselves, or someone else.
That means law enforcement can forcefully take your firearms and use force to apprehend them if need be. Officers must return the firearm if it’s obvious there is no threat, and the individual didn’t commit a criminal violation.
Constitutional Carry Prohibited Places in Texas
Although constitutional carry is now legal in the state of Texas, that doesn’t mean residents can simply carry a handgun anywhere. The law does prohibit gun owners from possessing or using a gun in certain places in an effort to protect the public and property there. That includes someone else’s private property as well as private businesses that give notice under Penal Code 30.05. If you do possess a gun on another’s private property, you could face a class C misdemeanor punishable by a $200 fine.
Other areas you’re prohibited from carrying a handgun in Texas include:
- Elementary, middle, or high school premises
- Any college premises
- Professional sports event
- At a correctional facility
- Any establishment where they make 51% or more of its revenue from selling alcohol
- At a hospital or nursing home
- Secured area in an airport
- Courts or offices utilized by the court
- Polling places
- Civil commitment facility
- Mental hospitals
- Amusement parks
- Governmental open meetings
- Federal property restricted by federal law
Please note that if you carry a handgun into a post office or a military installation, you’ll be charged with a felony offense.
You Can Now Expunge Unlawful Carry Convictions
HB 1927 doesn’t just allow Texans the chance to open or conceal carry, but also permits those with unlawful carry convictions to expunge their record. The only condition that must be met is the conviction must have occurred before September 1st, 2021. According to the Texas District & County Attorneys Association (TDCA), 130,000 people were able to expunge their record of unlawful carry after September 1st, 2021.
Please note, Texas law still maintains the same penalties for misuse of a handgun. Also, the law maintains prohibitions on criminals possessing firearms including felons, fugitives from justice, individuals committed to a mental facility, domestic abusers, and illegal aliens. In addition, it’s a criminal violation to own or possess a handgun if you’re under the age of 21.
Texas Permitless Carry Bill | HB 1927 – Visit the official website for the Texas Legislature Online to read the statutory language for the bill. Access the site to see the authors and co-authors of the bill, co-authors, sponsor, the list of amendments the bill has gone through in both the House and the Senate, as well as the signature by Governor Greg Abbott.
Firearms Weapons Crimes in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Statutes and Penal Code to read their chapter for Weapon and Firearm Offense. Access the site to read more about the elements and penalties for crimes including unlawful carry of a firearm, possession of a weapon by a felon, and more.
Constitutional Carry Lawyer, Houston | Horak Law
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a firearms related crime, call Horak Law. Matthew Horak at Horak Law has spent years defending Texas residents of all types of crimes including unlawful possession and felon in possession of a firearm. He can utilize his extensive resources, practice experience, and skills for your case and help you keep your freedom and right to a firearm. Don’t wait another day to fight for your constitutional rights.
Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation today.