What Gun Owners Need to Know about Open Carry in Texas

In January 2016, handgun owners in Texas who owned a concealed handgun license were permitted to openly carry their firearms on a belt or shoulder holster. Whether you are a new or experienced gun owner, or someone who is newly carrying your firearms out in the open, it’s crucial to understand that this expansion of your Second Amendment rights comes with certain limitations and responsibilities.

What Can I Do with a Concealed Handgun License?

If you own a handgun and have a concealed handgun license, you can open carry your handgun in a shoulder holster or a belt holster on your waist.

Do I Need a License to Open Carry a Longarm?

No. You do not need any special licensing to open carry a longarm (rifles, shotguns, etc.) in Texas. Such licensing was always meant for handguns.

Where Can I Open Carry?

You can open carry in public (such as walking down the street) and on your property in Texas. As a general rule, anywhere where you could have concealed carry a handgun or open carried a longarm before, you can do so with an openly carried handgun.

Are There Restrictions on Where I Can Open Carry?

Yes. Regardless of whether or not you are properly licensed, you are not permitted to bring a firearm in a secured area of an airport, a courthouse, a polling place on any voting day, schools (including universities), or businesses that have visible signage prohibiting open carry.

Do I Have to Leave If a Business When There’s No Signage Posted?

You should. Open carry gun owners may risk a trespassing charge when they refuse to leave a place of business after being requested to do so by a business’s proper authority. Businesses, however, are ultimately responsible for opting out of open carry by posting appropriate signage.

Is There a Limit to How Many Firearms I Can Carry?

The law does not state a limit on how many handguns a person who is properly licensed can conceal or open carry.

Can the Police Stop & Question Me If I Am Open Carrying?

Yes. Police officers are permitted to stop anyone open carrying a firearm to determine whether or not they are properly licensed to do so. It is not a violation of your Second Amendment rights in Texas for the police to make sure you are properly licensed to open carry a handgun. You may be detained if the police gather enough information that causes them to suspect that a crime is or has been committed.

Can I Get Arrested for Openly Carrying a Firearm?

If you are openly carrying a firearm, the most likely scenario where you would be arrested for it is if you were doing so unlicensed or in a prohibited area. You could also be arrested and charged with a serious felony or misdemeanor crime for pulling out your gun without a legally sufficient reason for doing so – and especially if you discharge it.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Arrested for a Gun Crime?

Texas is far more relaxed than other states when it comes to gun laws, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get charged with one. If you have been arrested while openly carrying any firearm or for another gun charge, reach out to Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C. for legal assistance.

Our attorneys can be reached by contacting them online or by calling (979) 559-3599.