Texas Gun Laws

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Brenna Mills
April 6, 2023

If you’re considering buying or carrying a gun in the Lone Star State, it’s vital to know the state laws that may impact your purchase and your future. A mistake can lead to major legal consequences. 

Texas’ strict gun laws must be understood, followed, and updated to legally buy, own, and carry a gun. Though it recognizes the Second Amendment right to bear arms, the Texas penal code restricts private gun ownership. If you’re concerned about the legal penalties you may face for unlawful gun ownership or use, read on to learn more. 

Ownership and Limitations

Federal laws and state laws regulate gun ownership in Texas. A 21-year-old with no felony convictions and no disability or restraining order can own a handgun in Texas. Minors can buy handguns with parental consent or for educational purposes. Rifles and shotguns are legal for anyone over 18.

Unless their right to bear arms is restored, felons cannot own firearms, even after serving their sentences. The governor can pardon or the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) can grant this.

The ATF also regulates Class 3 weapons—machine guns, suppressors, short-barreled rifles, and destructive devices. Texas law heavily regulates these weapons and requires federal registration. Failure to comply will result in serious legal penalties. To legally own firearms in Texas, non-residents must obtain a permit.

Texas gun owners must know their firearm rights and responsibilities. Individuals can comply with federal and state gun ownership laws and avoid unnecessary risk by familiarizing themselves with both. Given the legal requirements, understanding the permit process—the next step for prospective gun owners—is just as important.

Texas Gun Permits

Texas has few gun ownership restrictions, making getting a gun permit easy. Texas does not require a permit to buy, possess, or carry a handgun openly or concealed, according to the Department of Public Safety. However, state law requires licensing and eligibility to carry a handgun openly or concealed.

License applicants must pass a firearms safety course and submit fingerprints for safety. Applicants must also not have been convicted of certain felonies or “ever been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct violating a penal law” involving a state-prohibited weapon (which includes most firearms).

Texas has more lax gun permit laws than other states. Identification and background checks for Texas firearms permit applicants help ensure responsible firearm use statewide.

ID and Background Checks

Texas requires a background check and valid ID for gun permits. Driver’s licenses and passports must include the applicant’s name, birthday, and gender. If approved to carry a firearm, the background check checks the applicant’s criminal and mental health records to ensure public safety.

Failure to follow these laws may result in strict penalties. Talk with a lawyer if you’ve been accused of carrying a gun without a permit. 

Texas Gun Carry Laws and Restrictions

It’s important to know where you can and can’t carry a gun in Texas. Texas has the nation’s most lax gun laws. Many states only allow open-carry in unincorporated areas, but Texas allows open- and concealed-carry with restrictions. All licensed handgun carriers can carry in public. LTCs allow concealed carry.

Carrying a gun is restricted, however, on school and college campuses. Private property owners can also make decisions on whether to allow carrying a gun on their property. 

Whether you conceal or open-carry your firearm, you must know and follow gun laws. 

Texas has federal and state gun carry laws. All states are prohibited from carrying firearms on federal property, including military bases, airports, post offices, and courthouses. Guns are prohibited in bars and some businesses. However, Texas law allows citizens to conceal or holster any legally owned handgun almost anywhere in Texas.

The Texas Penal Code lists exceptions that prohibit citizens from carrying handguns openly or concealed at school grounds, hospitals, racetracks, secured airport areas, election-day polling locations, amusement parks, and correctional facilities. Carrying firearms into a business that makes at least 51 percent of its revenue from alcohol is illegal regardless of whether you drink. Those with a concealed handgun license or peace officer license (or a retired peace officer) can enter these establishments with a gun.

Gun owners should check local ordinances before bringing a gun anywhere to avoid breaking local laws. Many areas have stricter firearms laws than the state. 

Texas Gun Sales

Texas gun laws are simple. As long as they are not prohibited, non-federally licensed firearms dealers can buy, sell, and trade guns. However, licensed sellers are required for some transactions. For instance, non-licensees must buy or sell firearms face-to-face after filing and approving state and federal paperwork.

Gun purchases in Texas are governed by state law, and violators face serious penalties. These laws aim to reduce illegal and unsafe firearm transactions in the state so people can safely exercise their constitutional rights. Both parties should protect their rights while complying with Texas law by knowing these laws and doing their homework before buying a gun.

Get Help Understanding Texas Gun Laws

If you’re facing penalties about any of these Texas gun laws or other state gun laws, you don’t have to face the accusations alone. Your attorney at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC is ready to defend your case and get the charges dropped or dismissed. 

When you’re ready for guidance, reach out for help. Give us a call at 817-334-7900 or fill out the following online contact form to get in touch. 

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