What You Need to Know about Open Carry in Texas

 In Criminal
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As of January 1, 2016, Texas allows for “open carry” or wearing weapons in plain view in belt or shoulder holsters. The Bill was passed even though 75 percent of Texas police chiefs expressing opposition to open carry.

Who can get a license to open carry in Texas?

Generally, a person who has been a resident of the state for at least six months, who is at least 21, who has not been convicted of a felony, who is not being presently being charged with the offense of disorderly conduct or any felony, who is not a fugitive, who is not chemically dependent, who is at least of mind sound enough to know how to use and store a handgun, and who has not been convicted of a class A or Class B misdemeanor in the five years preceding the application may apply for a License to Carry. The exhaustive list of eligibility requirements includes:

  • Age 21 or older, although certain military exemptions apply for servicemen and women;
  • No felony convictions;
  • You do not have a pending Disorderly Conduct charge;
  • You are not being charged with felony;
  • You have not a fugitive for anything other than a warrant based on a Class C citation;
  • You are not chemically dependent;
  • You are capable of exercising sound judgment with respect to the proper usage and storage of a handgun;
  • You have not been convicted of any level of disorderly conduct in the last five years;
  • You have not been convicted of any Class A or Class B offense in the last five years;
  • You have never been convicted of a felony;
  • You are qualified under federal law to purchase a firearm; (See 18 USC 44 §922.)
  • You are not delinquent in making child support payments;
  • You are not delinquent in paying your taxes;
  • You are not subject to a protective order;
  • You have not been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct in the last 10 years;
  • You did not lie on your application.

Can I carry without a holster with my License to Carry?

Unconcealed handguns must be in a shoulder or belt holster.

Do I need a License to Carry for Long Guns?

Long guns do not require a license to carry. The new law only applies to handguns.

I have a CHL, do I need to get a License to Carry?

No. If you are one of the 922,197 active CHL holders in Texas, you do not need to apply for a License to Carry. Your CHL becomes a License to Carry with no further action on your part.

Can an officer stop me for no reason other than to ask for my License to Carry?

No. An officer may not stop a person simply to determine if they have a License to Carry. While they may make a consensual encounter, the person they are talking to has the right to walk away, not answer questions, and not show their License to Carry.  On the other hand, if the officer has reasonable suspicion or probable cause that an offense has or is occurring, they may legally stop that person. If you are legally stopped and asked then you must show the officer your License to Carry.

What if I refuse to show an officer my License to Carry?

If a police officer has a valid reason to stop you and then asks to see your License to Carry, failure to show your license is a violation of Government Code Section 411.205. However, the penalty that existed for this offense was removed by the legislature. (A previous version of the statute provided that failure to show a license to carry will result in a suspension of the license for a period of 90 days. A subsequent offense was a Class B misdemeanor.) For now, it is a violation without a penalty.

How will a criminal conviction affect my ability to get a License to Carry under Texas law?

  1. A conviction for a Class C Disorderly Conduct charge will result in a five-year suspension in the ability to obtain a License to Carry.
  2. Any Class B or Class A conviction will result in a five-year suspension in the ability to obtain a License to Carry.
  3. Any felony conviction will result in the loss of the privilege to obtain a License to Carry.

Can I carry a handgun openly on a university campus?

No. Until August 1, 2016 Penal Code Section 46.03 still prohibits the carry of firearms (and other weapons) in the following locations:

  1. A school or university campus
  2. A polling place
  3. A court or office used by a court
  4. A racetrack
  5. In the secured area of an airport
  6. Within 1,000 feet of a state execution.

Until August 1, 2016 Penal Code 46.035 prohibits the carry of a handgun, even with a License to Carry, in the following locations:

  1. A business that gets 51 percent or more of its income from the sale of alcohol
  2. School, collegiate, or professional sporting events
  3. A correctional facility
  4. Hospitals and nursing facilities
  5. Amusement parks
  6. Churches.

Does being intoxicated affect the ability to carry with a License to Carry?

Yes. It is an offense to carry a handgun, even with a License to Carry, if the person carrying the handgun is intoxicated.

[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_tab_nav type=”two-up” float=”top”][x_tab_nav_item title=”Government Code Section 411.172″ active=”true”][x_tab_nav_item title=”Penal Code Sec. 46.03″ active=”false”][/x_tab_nav][x_tabs][x_tab active=”true”] Government Code Section 411.172: License to Carry a Handgun

(a) A person is eligible for a license to carry a handgun if the person:

(1) is a legal resident of this state for the six-month period preceding the date of application under this subchapter or is otherwise eligible for a license under Section 411.173(a);

(2) is at least 21 years of age;

(3) has not been convicted of a felony;

(4) is not charged with the commission of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or equivalent offense, or of an offense under Section 42.01, Penal Code, or equivalent offense, or of a felony under an information or indictment;

(5) is not a fugitive from justice for a felony or a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or equivalent offense;

(6) is not a chemically dependent person;

(7) is not incapable of exercising sound judgment with respect to the proper use and storage of a handgun;

(8) has not, in the five years preceding the date of application, been convicted of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or equivalent offense or of an offense under Section 42.01, Penal Code, or equivalent offense;

(9) is fully qualified under applicable federal and state law to purchase a handgun;

(10) has not been finally determined to be delinquent in making a child support payment administered or collected by the attorney general;

(11) has not been finally determined to be delinquent in the payment of a tax or other money collected by the comptroller, the tax collector of a political subdivision of the state, or any agency or subdivision of the state;

(12) is not currently restricted under a court protective order or subject to a restraining order affecting the spousal relationship, other than a restraining order solely affecting property interests;

(13) has not, in the 10 years preceding the date of application, been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct violating a penal law of the grade of felony; and

(14) has not made any material misrepresentation, or failed to disclose any material fact, in an application submitted pursuant to Section 411.174.

(b-1) An offense is not considered a felony for purposes of Subsection (b) if, at the time of a person’s application for a license to carry a handgun, the offense:

(1) is not designated by a law of this state as a felony; and

(2) does not contain all the elements of any offense designated by a law of this state as a felony.

(g) Notwithstanding Subsection (a)(2), a person who is at least 18 years of age but not yet 21 years of age is eligible for a license to carry a handgun if the person:

(1) is a member or veteran of the United States armed forces, including a member or veteran of the reserves or national guard;

(2) was discharged under honorable conditions, if discharged from the United States armed forces, reserves, or national guard; and

(3) meets the other eligibility requirements of Subsection (a) except for the minimum age required by federal law to purchase a handgun.

(h) The issuance of a license to carry a handgun to a person eligible under Subsection (g) does not affect the person’s ability to purchase a handgun or ammunition under federal law.

Penal Code Sec. 46.03. PLACES WEAPONS PROHIBITED

Text of subsection effective until August 01, 2016

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon listed in Section 46.05(a):

(1) on the physical premises of a school or educational institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution, whether the school or educational institution is public or private, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution;

(2) on the premises of a polling place on the day of an election or while early voting is in progress;

(3) on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the court;

(4) on the premises of a racetrack;

(5) in or into a secured area of an airport; or

(6) within 1,000 feet of premises the location of which is designated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a place of execution under Article 43.19, Code of Criminal Procedure, on a day that a sentence of death is set to be imposed on the designated premises and the person received notice that:

(A) going within 1,000 feet of the premises with a weapon listed under this subsection was prohibited; or

(B) possessing a weapon listed under this subsection within 1,000 feet of the premises was prohibited.[/x_tab][x_tab active=”false”]Penal Code Sec. 46.03. PLACES WEAPONS PROHIBITED

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon listed in Section 46.05(a):
(1) on the physical premises of a school or educational institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution, whether the school or educational institution is public or private, unless:
(A) pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution; or
(B) the person possesses or goes with a concealed handgun that the person is licensed to carry under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, and no other weapon to which this section applies, on the premises of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education, on any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by the institution is being conducted, or in a passenger transportation vehicle of the institution;
(2) on the premises of a polling place on the day of an election or while early voting is in progress;
(3) on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the court;
(4) on the premises of a racetrack;
(5) in or into a secured area of an airport; or
(6) within 1,000 feet of premises the location of which is designated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a place of execution under Article 43.19, Code of Criminal Procedure, on a day that a sentence of death is set to be imposed on the designated premises and the person received notice that:
(A) going within 1,000 feet of the premises with a weapon listed under this subsection was prohibited; or
(B) possessing a weapon listed under this subsection within 1,000 feet of the premises was prohibited.
(b) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsections (a)(1)-(4) that the actor possessed a firearm while in the actual discharge of his official duties as a member of the armed forces or national guard or a guard employed by a penal institution, or an officer of the court.
(c) In this section:
(1) “Institution of higher education” and “private or independent institution of higher education” have the meanings assigned by Section 61.003, Education Code.
(2) “Premises” has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035.
(3) “Secured area” means an area of an airport terminal building to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property under federal law.
(d) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(5) that the actor possessed a firearm or club while traveling to or from the actor’s place of assignment or in the actual discharge of duties as:
(1) a member of the armed forces or national guard;
(2) a guard employed by a penal institution; or
(3) a security officer commissioned by the Texas Private Security Board if:
(A) the actor is wearing a distinctive uniform; and
(B) the firearm or club is in plain view; or
(4) a security officer who holds a personal protection authorization under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code, provided that the officer is either:
(A) wearing the uniform of a security officer, including any uniform or apparel described by Section 1702.323(d), Occupations Code, and carrying the officer’s firearm in plain view; or
(B) not wearing the uniform of a security officer and carrying the officer’s firearm in a concealed manner.
(e) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(5) that the actor checked all firearms as baggage in accordance with federal or state law or regulations before entering a secured area.
(e-1) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(5) that the actor:
(1) possessed, at the screening checkpoint for the secured area, a concealed handgun that the actor was licensed to carry under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code; and
(2) exited the screening checkpoint for the secured area immediately upon completion of the required screening processes and notification that the actor possessed the handgun.
(e-2) A peace officer investigating conduct that may constitute an offense under Subsection (a)(5) and that consists only of an actor’s possession of a concealed handgun that the actor is licensed to carry under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, may not arrest the actor for the offense unless:
(1) the officer advises the actor of the defense available under Subsection (e-1) and gives the actor an opportunity to exit the screening checkpoint for the secured area; and
(2) the actor does not immediately exit the checkpoint upon completion of the required screening processes.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1001 (H.B. 554), Sec. 1

(f) Except as provided by Subsection (e-1), it is not a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor possessed a handgun and was licensed to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 437 (H.B. 910), Sec. 46

(f) It is not a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor possessed a handgun and was licensed to carry a handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code.
(g) An offense under this section is a third degree felony.
(h) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(4) that the actor possessed a firearm or club while traveling to or from the actor’s place of assignment or in the actual discharge of duties as a security officer commissioned by the Texas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies, if:
(1) the actor is wearing a distinctive uniform; and
(2) the firearm or club is in plain view.
(i) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (a)(6) that the actor possessed a firearm or club:
(1) while in a vehicle being driven on a public road; or
(2) at the actor’s residence or place of employment.[/x_tab][/x_tabs][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]

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