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Where Texas Gun Laws Stand Now

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, state governments across the nation are re-examaning their gun laws.

No license is required for purchasing and owning a firearm there is no licensing requirement. All that is required is a state-issued ID that says you are at least 18 years to purchase a rifle, or at least 21 years to purchase a handgun. 

Without a concealed handgun license (CHL) you are allowed to carry your weapon on your own property, in your own private motor vehicle (loaded and in reach), or engaged in a lawful sport involving firearms.

If you are a law abiding citizen you would need a CHL to carry a concealed handgun on your person. ACHL requires that you must:

  • be a Texas resident for at least six months
  • not be a convicted felon
  • have not been convicted of a Class A or B misdemeanor within the last 5 years
  • have not been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition that would impair sound judgment
  • have no chemical dependency
  • not be under a protective order
  • renew your license every 4 years

If you are a licensed gun owner there are still places the Texas Penal Code prohibits arms, including but not limited to:

  • amusement parks
  • places of religious worship
  • hospitals, nursing homes, or correctional facilities
  • any court or government entity (unless otherwise authorized)
  • polling places during election day
  • a secured area of an airport
  • an interscholastic, or professional sporting events
  • vehicle of a public/private school
  • a bar, or any business that derives most of its income from alcoholic beverages

As it currently stands, Texas is one of six states that bar “open carry,” or carrying handguns openly in a holster or otherwise. The debate is over whether law-abiding citizens carrying weapons in plain view would deter criminals. A gun in plain view would certainly be intimidating, but as others argue, also provocative for someone to grab it in an irresponsible way.

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