In January 2016, carrying a handgun openly became legal in Texas.
This law modified the previous handgun license law by eliminating the requirement that licensed handguns be carried in a concealed manner.
This means that somebody with a handgun license may choose to conceal it under clothing or wear it in a holster visible to others.
The following is allowed by law for licensed handguns owners:
- Public areas of city facilities, like libraries and recreation centers
- Texas State Capitol
- Outside in public (walking down the street)
- Concealed gun anywhere on the body. Concealing a gun is still allowed.
- Handgun in shoulder holster
- Handgun in belt holster
- Places of business with no visible signage prohibiting licensed handguns
Please be advised that licensed handguns and other weapons are prohibited in these places:
Guns Not Allowed:
- Secured areas of the Airport
- Polling places on any voting days
- Places of business with visible signage prohibiting licensed handguns (Example)
What is new for Texans in 2016 is that you can now see a gun that someone is carrying, when in the past, the gun would have been hidden by clothing, or concealed.
The sight of individuals with guns may become more commonplace in Texas and we encourage residents and visitors not to panic and to become familiar with the law.
As always, remain observant of your surroundings. If you witness somebody, armed or not, who is causing a disturbance or behaving suspiciously contact law enforcement immediately.
Remember, while carrying a gun in plain sight is legal beginning Jan. 1, 2016 in Texas, there is no change to the types of guns that are legal, or the process to own and carry a gun legally.
Still have questions? We have answers.
Where is it legal to open carry?
- Anyplace you could previously carry concealed, you may now carry openly.
Where is it not legal to openly carry?
- Any place that is prohibited under the concealed handgun law applies to open carry.
When do I have to present my license to open carry?
- When requested by a peace officer or magistrate.
What weapons are not allowed to be carried openly?
- Any weapon prohibited by law (Texas Penal Code, Prohibited Weapons)
Do public schools have to post "no carry" signs or are they just understood "no carry" zones?
- No signage is required. (see Texas Penal Code, Places Weapons Prohibited)
What should citizens do if a business tells them they cannot have their gun exposed but they don't have the prohibited sign posted?
- Any time a License Holder is asked to leave a property by a person with apparent authority to do so, the License Holder should leave the premises.
Is there a limit to the number of firearms you can carry?
- The law does not limit the number of handguns that can be carried.
If you don't have a license and your hand gun is in your car it must be concealed; if it's in the open with no license it's illegal.
- Yes, the gun must be concealed if the person is not licensed.
Have APD officers been trained on the new open carry law?
- APD officers have been trained on the new law.
Have 911 call takers been trained on the new open carry law?
- 911 call takers have been trained on the new law.
Can private businesses opt out of open carry?
- Yes, by having appropriate signage (30.07)
Can city employees open carry on the job?
- No. City policy does not allow employees to carry a weapon except for police officers.
Does this change the law for open carrying of Long Guns (shotguns and rifles)?
If I currently have a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL), will DPS issue me a new License to Carry Handgun (LTC) when HB 910 (open carry) becomes effective?
- No. Individuals who hold a valid CHL may continue to carry with a valid existing license. A separate or new license will not be required to carry openly when HB910 goes into effect.
Find more information about Handgun Licensing in Texas from the Texas Department of Public Safety.