Texas Gun Laws

There are basically two levels of gun laws in Texas: the state and federal law. Although Texas resident must comply with the federal laws regarding handgun and rifle possession, there are state laws which apply only to residents while they are in the state. Every gun owner should familiarize themselves with these laws to insure safe ownership. In Texas, it falls to the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide all the pertinent gun law details as well as processing the applications for the conceal and carry registration. If you live in Texas and plan to purchase or already own a gun, you should definitely bookmark TDPS website.

Texas Gun Permits
In Texas, as with most other states, there is a distinction made between handguns versus shotguns and rifles. In Texas, you do not need a permit to purchase a gun or rifle. You also do not need to register those weapons or have a license to be an owner of a handgun or rifle. There is a distinction made with regard to the right to carry a gun. Simply put you can't carry a rifle but you can carry a concealed handgun.

However, if you are on your own property, are hunting or involved in a shooting activity such as at an exhibition or gun range you are permitted to openly carry your handgun and/or rifle and shotgun.

All of this boils down to the simple conclusion that if you are a Texas resident, above the age of 21 without any criminal restrictions you can buy and own a gun. This also includes any ammunition, firearm accessories or reloading components.

Texas Gun Restrictions
Just because there aren't any strident permit restrictions to owning or buying a gun doesn't mean there aren't some general restrictions that you need to follow as a Texas resident. First of all, you are not allowed to lend, buy, or give a gun, rifle or shotgun to anyone under the age of 18 without the written consent of their parent or guardian. You might have good intentions to want to teach a favorite nephew, niece, cousin or even younger brother or sister all about gun safety and handling but you need to get permission first. Even if it's your own parents, get it in writing.

You also can't give a gun to anyone who you know is going to commit an unlawful act or who might be intoxicated. That's obviously common sense. However, if you do cross that line you will and can be held responsible for that person's actions. If you have been convicted of a felony crime or Class A misdemeanor you will not be allowed to purchase or own a gun of any kind.

Texas Concealed Carry Gun Laws
If you are a qualified resident of Texas you are permitted to apply for a conceal carry gun permit. This pertains only to handguns. The applications can be obtained by the gun store you bought the gun from or directly through the Texas Department of Public Safety. As the name implies, concealed carry means that your handgun needs to be concealed on your person. Although it might seem appropriate in Texas to have a holster and six shooter, that is against the law unless you are on your own property or involved with a sport activity.

If you are driving and have a concealed carry permit your handgun still needs to be concealed. It can be loaded and within reach but still has to be concealed. You can't have it sitting in your lap or on the seat beside you. Even with a concealed handgun license you're restricted from carrying that firearm at the following locations:

A bar, any court, any school or college, an amusement park, nursing home, hospital, place of worship, race track, polling place on a day of an election, airport, and prison. And if you have a concealed carry permit and become intoxicated, you are breaking the law.

In order to obtain the concealed carry permit along with the proper application you will need to present two color passport photos, fingerprints, proof of residency and age as well as certification from a licensed handgun instructor.

See also:
Texas Felony
Texas Misdemeanor External link (opens in new window)
Texas Expungement External link (opens in new window)
Texas Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)