Texas Gun Laws: License to Carry Requirements

License to Carry

New Texas’ Laws Loosen Gun Restrictions 

After a slew of mass shootings, Texas passed eight new laws in 2019 designed to ease restrictions on guns. This included allowing them to be carried in places of worship, during disasters and in rented and leased property.

Here’s a rundown of eight new laws that went into effect on Sept. 1 in Texas:

  • Licensed gun owners may now carry guns in churches, synagogues and other places of worship unless the property owners explicitly prohibit firearms with posted signage. (Senate Bill 535)
  • Landlords can no longer prevent tenants or guests of tenants from lawfully possessing, carrying, transporting or storing firearms under lease agreements. (House Bill 302)
  • Property owners associations can no longer ban the storage of guns on rental properties. (Senate Bill 741)
  • Licensed handgun owners who unknowingly enter an establishment that bans firearms now have a legal defense as long as they leave when asked. (House Bill 121)
  • There is no cap how many trained armed teachers or school personnel  –  known as school marshals – can carry guns on school campuses. (House Bill 1387)
  • During a state of disaster, Texans may carry a handgun without a license. (House Bill 1177)
  • School districts cannot ban licensed gun owners, including school employees, from storing guns or ammunition in their locked vehicles on a school parking lots. (House Bill 1143)
  • Certain foster homes are permitted to store guns and ammunition in a safe and secure place for personal protection. (House Bill 2363)

Getting a License to Carry (formerly Concealed Handgun License) in Texas

Below are the requirements to obtain a License to Carry in Texas, also commonly referred to as a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL). This summarizes both the Texas law and the federal requirements to own a firearm. This is not meant to substitute counsel from your own attorney or be a guarantee that fulfilling these conditions will be sufficient in your particular situation. However, it is a good place to start. For more information, check our sources listed below.

MUST BE:

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  • A legal resident of Texas for six months immediately prior to applying;
  • At least 21 years old, or 18 years old if you are in the military or honorably discharged;
  • Capable of exercising sound judgment in the use and handling a handgun;
  • In the United States legally;
  • Truthful in your application for your License to Carry.

MUST NOT:

  • Be a convicted felon;
  • Be a person convicted of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or Disorderly Conduct in the 5 years prior to applying;
  • Have any pending Class A or Class B misdemeanors;
  • Have any pending Disorderly Conduct charges;
  • Have any pending felony charges;
  • Be a fugitive for a Class A or B misdemeanor or for a felony;
  • Must not have been adjudicated for a felony as a juvenile in the last 10 years;
  • Have been convicted twice in the last 10 years for offenses involving drugs or alcohol, such as possession of controlled substances, DWI charges, intoxication assault, intoxication manslaughter, etc;
  • Have been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition that causes impairment in judgment, mood, perception, impulse control or intellectual ability;
  • Be incompetent as determined by a court or a doctor;
  • Have entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity;
  • Have been voluntarily or involuntarily hospitalized for a psychiatric condition;
  • Have been diagnosed in last five years as a person who is drug or alcohol dependent;
  • Have ever been diagnosed as having schizophrenia or delusional disorder, bipolar disorder, chronic dementia, dissociative identity disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, or antisocial personality disorder;
  • Be delinquent in child support;
  • Be delinquent in your taxes;
  • Be subject to a court protective order;
  • Be subject to a restraining order;
  • Be here on a visa other than an immigrant visa;
  • Have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces;
  • Have renounced your United States citizenship;
  • Have pled guilty to a family violence offense.

To obtain a License to Carry in Texas, you need:

  • A completed License to Carry application;
  • photographs;
  • a certified copy of a birth certificate or certified proof of age;
  • proof of residency in state;
  • two sets of fingerprints;
  • application fee of $140;
  • evidence of handgun proficiency.

Losing Your License to Carry

There are certain people who lose their right to possess firearm, including convicted felons. It’s important to point out that there are very limited circumstances in which a person’s right to a firearm may be restored, and relief is very rarely granted. For instance, only a handful of pardons are given out each year in Texas. However, if it is important enough for you to dedicate the time and resources necessary for the slim chance of relief, we are available to assist you. Consultations and legal services begin at $250/hour.

Obtaining a License to Carry in TexasInfographic

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Benson Varghese

Managing Partner at Varghese Summersett PLLC
Benson Varghese is the founder and Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a prolific writer and has authored hundreds of articles about criminal law in Texas and at the Federal level. His articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Above the Law, and have been selected as Top Blogs by the State Bar of Texas. He was named the Young Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by the Tarrant County Bar Association. Benson led the firm to become one of the 500 fastest growing businesses in the United States by Inc 500 Magazine in 2018. In the same year, the firm was named the Best Law Firm in Fort Worth by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.
Benson Varghese
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