By: Mark Diaz
Share This Post
What You Need To Know About New Texas Gun Laws
Texas has a long history with firearms, and it is generally known as a pro-gun state. If you live in or visit Texas, you should be aware of several gun law changes as of 2023. Knowing other aspects of Texas gun laws is also helpful so you do not unknowingly violate them.
If you have questions about gun laws in Texas, our Galveston criminal defense lawyers at Mark Diaz & Associates can address them. They also have an impressive record defending Texans against a variety of criminal charges, including homicide, drug possession, drug trafficking, and assault and battery.
Table of Contents
Who Has Permission To Carry Firearms In Texas?
Texas gun regulations regarding the carrying of firearms have changed considerably recently. In 2021, HB 1927 was signed by the governor, which allowed Texans to carry handguns without a permit or license. Before this change, Texans had to obtain a license to carry a handgun openly or concealed.
However, there still are restrictions on where handguns can be carried. You also need to be 21 to carry a handgun in public. There are restrictions on where guns can be carried openly or concealed, such as in bars, schools, and voting stations.
How To Carry A Gun Legally In Texas
In Texas, current laws regarding carrying a gun vary based on whether it is a handgun or a long gun, such as a shotgun or rifle. If you have a handgun, you must carry it in a holster, open or concealed. There is no specific requirement about the type of holster. Before 2021, when you had to have a handgun license, the gun had to be in a belt or shoulder holster. With the new law, you no longer need a license; the only requirement is that the handgun is in a holster.
Carrying a long gun is not specified in Texas law, but specific individuals are barred from possessing or owning firearms by law. Also, disorderly conduct laws deal with how guns can be shown in public. Flaunting a gun publicly in a way that alarms others is a crime.
Other Texas Gun Laws
According to Texas Penal Code Section 46.02, if you keep a pistol in your car, it must be hidden. If you do not have it in a holster, it should be in a case, glove compartment, or lockable console in the vehicle’s center.
Chapter 46 also has laws on illegally carrying firearms, including shotguns, rifles, and other firearms that are not handguns. It also mentions crimes involving certain people possessing weapons, such as convicted felons and those who were found guilty of family violence.
Furthermore, Texas Penal Code Section 46.03 mentions places where carrying a gun is prohibited. These places include racetracks, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Texas Penal Code Section 46.035 mentions various situations where carrying handguns is banned, including correctional facilities. Remember that it is your responsibility to know where and how to carry guns in Texas. If you violate the law, you could be charged with a crime.
There also are other new gun laws in Texas that took effect on Sept. 1, 2023. They are;
House Bill 2837
This law prevents financial institutions and agents from requiring gun deals to use a merchant category code (MCC) specific to gun purchases instead of a general merchandise code. This law protects the privacy of legal gun purchasers by preventing payment processing systems from gathering this data that could be used later to disclose firearms transactions.
House Bill 1760
House Bill 1760 limits restrictions on gun possession under Texas Penal Code Section 46.03 to actual properties owned by and under the control of schools or places where high school or collegiate activities are occurring. Without this vital clarification, gun-free zones could be designated anytime students are engaging in educational activities off-campus.
House Bill 3137
Expands the Texas firearms preemption law to outlaw counties and municipalities from forcing gun owners to buy liability insurance. This law prevents California-style regulations from being imposed on the people of Texas.
FAQs About Texas Gun Laws
Our criminal defense attorneys in Galveston receive many questions about Texas gun laws. Here are some of the most common:
What Is The New Gun Law That Passed In 2023?
There was a recent measure passed by the Texas Senate that would change the law that allowed firearms sales to those between 16 and 18 who were unintentionally placed in a mental health facility. Some involuntary mental hospitalizations that had to be reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) were misreported in some cases. This is significant because once the information was sent to DPS, it was forwarded to the FBI’s federal gun background check system.
Can You Carry A Gun In Texas Without A License?
In September 2021, Texas passed a law allowing residents at least 21 to meet several requirements to carry a handgun without a license. This is known commonly as Constitutional Carry and became effective on Sept. 1, 2021. There are exceptions to the law, such as where guns cannot be carried. Being familiar with these details is essential before you carry a handgun without a license.
Do I Have To Tell The Police I Have A Gun In My Car?
If a police officer stops you, you are not required to tell them that you have a firearm in your car. However, if the police ask whether you have weapons in the car, you must tell them. If you do not, you could be criminally charged.
Who Cannot Possess Or Carry A Gun In Texas?
Under federal law, you cannot possess or own a gun if you have a felony conviction or a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. You also cannot have a gun if you have a severe mental condition or have an active protective order against you.
Under Texas law, If you were convicted of a felony, you may not possess a gun until five years after you finish your sentence, supervision, or probation. At that point, you can only own a gun in your home. If you have a conviction for assault for specific domestic violence crimes, you cannot possess a gun for five years after finishing your sentence, supervision, or probation.
Can I Carry My Rifle In Texas?
Texas law does not prohibit someone from carrying a rifle or shotgun. However, the law does ban displaying or carrying the firearm in a way that intimidates others, such as brandishing it. But if federal or state law prohibits you from possessing a gun, you may not carry a long gun.
Where Is It Illegal To Carry A Gun In Texas?
You can legally carry a gun without a permit in many places in Texas, but there are certain places where guns are prohibited. They include schools, school buses, school activities, prisons, courthouses, polling locations, hospitals, and nursing homes.
What Ammo Is Legal In Texas For My Handgun?
The only ammunition that is regulated is armor-piercing ammunition for handguns. So, they are legal if you have hollow point or full metal jacket ammo in Texas. Generally, if you can buy the ammunition at a sporting goods store in the state, it is legal to have it in your handgun.
Does Texas Have The Castle Doctrine?
Yes. The Castle Doctrine states that all residents of homes and dwellings can use deadly force to protect themselves from illegal or forced intrusion. So, if someone breaks through your front door, you have the right to use a firearm against them.
Types Of Gun Charges In Texas
If you violated any of the gun laws mentioned earlier, you could be charged with a Texas gun crime. The most common gun-related offenses in the state are unlawful possession of a firearm and criminal possession of a firearm. You could be charged with illegal possession of a firearm in the following situations:
- You are under 21 years of age
- You have been convicted of an offense that bans you from possessing a firearm
- You carried a firearm while you were intoxicated
If you are charged with unlawfully carrying a gun in Texas, you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could get up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. However, in some situations, unlawful possession of a gun could be a third-degree felony. For example, carrying a firearm in a business that serves alcohol is a third-degree felony.
A first-time gun charge is often a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in a year in jail. However, with the help of Mark Diaz & Associates, it is possible to get a dismissal or decreased charge and penalties.
Speak To Our Galveston Criminal Defense Lawyers Now
If you have a firearms violation in Texas, you face serious consequences. You will need a highly skilled attorney who knows how to handle complicated criminal cases and who knows how to protect your rights. Our Galveston criminal defense lawyers at Mark Diaz & Associates will provide the best defense for your charges. Speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys today at (409) 515-6170. The initial consultation is free and completely confidential.