Updated Open Carry Laws in Texas

Texas has always been a state that values the Second Amendment. Recently, our state’s lawmakers enacted the Constitutional Carry law that puts even more power behind a gun owner’s right to carry their weapon in public.

Let’s take a closer look at current Texas gun laws, how they’ve changed the approach to open carry, and new amendments that could find gun owners on the wrong side of the law.

What Gun Laws Changed on September 1, 2021?

Prior to September 1, 2021, Texans were allowed to openly carry handguns under 3 requirements:

  1. A permit
  2. A background check
  3. State training

As of this month, the laws were severely loosened and legal gun owners can now open carry handguns without a permit. 

Although Governor Greg Abbott states that the law’s strengthening of gun rights is excellent for the state, the shift is a controversial one in some circles, due to safety concerns and new blurred lines police face when questioning people in public about their firearms.

Does Eligibility for Gun Ownership Change?

So, who constitutes a legal gun owner? Those laws are something that did not change. For example, people still must be 21 or older to make a legal gun purchase.

People who wish to purchase a handgun must also have:

  • Zero sentences for felonies or familial violence within the past 5 years
  • A background check when purchased from a licensed seller

Where Can You Not Carry?

While the law does loosen open carry restrictions, we aren’t about to revert back to the Wild West. There are still several places in the state where a gun owner cannot bring their gun:

  • Airports
  • Courtrooms 
  • Hospitals
  • Government Facilities
  • National Park Properties
  • Private Businesses that Prohibit Gun Entry
  • Schools
  • Polling Locations
  • Some Bars and Restaurants (locations that make 51% of their money from alcohol)

Updated Gun Carry Misdemeanors

Yes, the new gun law is exciting for many Texans. However, keep in mind that if you mess with the bull, you’ll still get the longhorns. The new law came with a set of updated misdemeanors that could leave violators facing jail time if convicted

The updated open carry misdemeanors include the following offenses:

  • If you enter an area where guns are prohibited, there is no savings clause. You may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor or 3rd-degree felony
  • Carrying on a college campus
  • Carrying while intoxicated
  • Deadly conduct
  • Terrorism threats

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