New Texas Gun Law Explained, What It Means, Who Can Carry a Gun

The new gun law in Texas permits people to carry a handgun without a license, thus allowing individuals to carry such a weapon without any background checks or training.

The new legislation was signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott back in June and goes into effect on September 1.

In a statement on June 17, the governor's office said: "House Bill 1927 (Schaefer/Schwertner) authorizes Constitutional Carry in Texas, meaning law-abiding Texans can legally carry a handgun without a license to carry."

What Does the New Texas Gun Law Mean?

The Texas State Law Library explains the latest gun law "removed the requirement to have a license to carry a handgun. This is sometimes called 'unlicensed carry', 'permitless carry,' or 'Constitutional carry.'"

The new law takes effect from September 1 but before then a license is still required to carry a handgun, either openly or concealed, according to the Texas State Law Library.

Abbott also signed a bill in June which allows individuals to "carry firearms in whatever kind of holster they choose," the governor's office stated in June.

Currently, Texans "must keep their handgun in a shoulder or belt holster."

After September 1, handguns in Texas will still need to be carried in a holster but "the holster does not have to be a shoulder or belt holster," the Texas State Law Library says.

Who Can Carry a Gun Under the New Law?

The new gun law pertains to those who are "21 years of age or older and not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing the firearm and to other provisions related to the carrying, possessing, transporting, or storing of a firearm or other weapon; creating criminal offenses," according to the Texas Legislature website.

The latest bill (H.B. No. 1927) states "persons who are currently prohibited from possessing firearms under state and federal law will not gain the right to possess or carry a firearm under this legislation."

Those currently prohibited from possessing a firearm include the following, as outlined in H.B. No. 1927:

  • Persons convicted of a felony as described by the provisions of Section 46.04, Penal Code.
  • Persons convicted of certain assault offenses under Section 22.01, Penal Code, punishable as a Class A misdemeanor and involving a member of the person's family or household.
  • Certain persons who are the subject of a protective order under Section 46.04(c), Penal Code.
  • Persons meeting any of the criteria listed in 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g), including persons adjudicated to be mentally incompetent.

Where Can You Carry a Gun in Texas?

The Texas State Law Library explains: "Generally speaking, people in Texas can carry guns wherever guns are not prohibited. Some places are always off-limits. At other types of places, the property owner can choose whether to allow guns.

"The new law also updates the list of places where firearms are prohibited," the state library says.

See H.B. No. 127 for the latest information on where guns are banned in Texas.

See the Texas State Law Library for more information.

A gun dealer in Texas.
Texas Guns, one of the 6,700 gun dealers located near the U.S.-Mexico border, pictured in June 2009. Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images