How Did Texas Gun Carry Laws Change?

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In 2021, significant changes were made to Texas gun carry laws, allowing qualified individuals to carry handguns in public places without a license to carry (LTC). This means that people who meet certain criteria can legally carry handguns without going through the process of obtaining an LTC. However, it's essential to understand the specifics of these changes and who is eligible to carry firearms under the new regulations.

Who Can Carry A Handgun Without An LTC?

To carry a handgun without an LTC in Texas, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 21 years old (though there's a possibility that a recent court decision might affect the age restriction).
  • Have no past felony convictions.
  • Have no recent convictions for specific misdemeanors.
  • Not be the subject of an unexpired or past protective order.
  • Not be barred from possessing or owning a firearm or gun by federal law.
  • Not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, except in specific situations described in the law.

It's important to note that these changes did not grant the right to carry a handgun to anyone who was previously prohibited from doing so under state and federal law.

Long Guns (Rifles And Shotguns)

While Texas law doesn't specifically impose restrictions on carrying long guns like rifles or shotguns, some individuals are still prohibited from owning or possessing any firearm under existing laws. Refer to the relevant sections for more information.

Texas Penal Code

The changes in gun carry laws are reflected in Sections 46.02 and 46.04 of the Texas Penal Code. These sections outline the criteria for carrying handguns without an LTC, including age limits, restrictions based on criminal convictions, and other limitations. It also addresses carrying handguns in certain vehicles and watercraft.

Licensed Carry Vs. Unlicensed Carry

Even though an LTC is no longer required to carry a handgun in most public places, obtaining one can still offer additional benefits. Licensed carriers may have certain advantages, such as being allowed to carry firearms in places where unlicensed carriers cannot, like schools and colleges. Private property owners also have the option to decide whether they allow unlicensed carry, open carry by license holders, concealed carry by license holders, or a combination of these options on their premises.

Carrying A Handgun In Other States

Texans may need their Texas LTC if they plan to carry their handgun in another state that requires a handgun license and has a reciprocity agreement with Texas.

HB 1927

House Bill 1927, passed during the 87th Legislative Session in 2021, removed the requirement for an LTC to carry a handgun in Texas. The changes in the law went into effect in the same year, altering how individuals can legally carry firearms in public places.

The changes to Texas gun carry laws in 2021 made it possible for qualified individuals to carry handguns without an LTC in most public places. However, certain eligibility criteria and restrictions still apply. If you're unsure about your rights and responsibilities regarding gun carry laws in Texas, it's essential to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable gun charge lawyer to ensure you comply with the updated regulations.

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