Open/Concealed Carry Guide for Businesses
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.
Here’s a quick rundown of the eight new laws that went into effect on Sept. 1 2019, in Texas:
- Senate Bill 535: allows Texans to carry guns in churches, synagogues and other places of worship, unless otherwise banned by those places with proper signage.
- Senate Bill 741: prohibits property owners’ associations from banning storage of guns on rental properties.
- House Bill 121: provides a legal defense for licensed handgun owners who unknowingly enter an establishment that bans firearms as long as they leave when asked.
- House Bill 302: prohibits landlords from banning renters and their guests from carrying firearms in lease agreements.
- House Bill 1387: loosens restrictions on the number of school marshals who can carry guns at public and private schools in Texas.
- House Bill 1177: allows Texans to carry handguns without a license during a state of disaster.
- House Bill 1143: prohibits school districts from banning licensed gun owners from storing guns and ammunition in their vehicles in parking lots.
- House Bill 2363: allows certain foster homes to store guns and ammunition in a locked location.
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 handgun 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 EPD officers been trained on the new open carry law?
- EPD 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)
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.
New Texas Laws Brass Knuckles and other self-defense items legal in Texas
- Self-defense items, including brass knuckles and hard plastic kitty keychains, will be legal for Texans to carry starting September 1.
House Bill 446, which overturns the ban on brass knuckles, self-defense keychains, and clubs,was signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in May.It passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.
It removed "knuckles" and "clubs" from a group of weapons banned by a previous law that was passed in 1918. Previously, it was against the law for anyone to "knowingly possess, manufacture, transport, repair, or sell" brass knuckles or a club.
It also defined a club is "an instrument that is specially designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with the instrument," including a blackjack, nightstick, mace, or a tomahawk.