The following is a video transcript.
Imagine this scenario: You’re in a store minding your own business when you reach up and grab an item from the top shelf. The person next to you seems startled and afraid. You realize that your legally concealed carry handgun is showing because your shirt came up above your waistband.
What do you do now? Have you broken the law?
Concealed carry with a valid License to Carry is legal in Texas, and there is no specific way a concealed carry gun must be carried, as long as it is completely concealed on or about your person. In other words, your handgun cannot be in plain view based upon ordinary observation. If a license holder’s concealed handgun becomes unconcealed inadvertently, and it is not carried in a belt or shoulder holster such as by flashing or printing, the license holder is not breaking the law.
Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry
Texas law provides that a person must intentionally display his or her handgun in a public place to another person to be guilty of unlawfully carrying a weapon by a license holder. However, if while carrying your handgun license, you intentionally display your handgun, also known as “open carry” here in Texas, the firearm must be carried in a belt or shoulder holster. In either case, whether carrying open or concealed, we as responsible gun owners must be on the lookout for 30.06, 30.07, and 51% signs.
Effective notice under 30.06 means that you cannot concealed carry in or on the premises. Effective notice under 30.07 means that you cannot open carry in or on the premises. Effective 51% notice, on the other hand, means that the location generates 51% or more of their revenue from the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises. You’ll likely see these types of signs posted at a bar or lounge. Generally, if a location is not a prohibited place, and you’ve not been given effective notice as just discussed, then you can legally carry in that place.
How Do I Respond?
Let’s go back to the scenario we talked about earlier. If your concealed handgun becomes visible by accident—let’s say you lift your arm up and the gun shows, or the wind blows causing the gun to become visible—that is perfectly fine. But what you must avoid when carrying your concealed handgun pursuant to your License to Carry, is purposefully showing your handgun when it is not being carried in a belt or shoulder holster. You cannot control how other people in the community are going to respond to seeing your concealed carry gun. If for some reason your gun accidentally shows, it is best to stay calm. Do not reach for the gun, and politely say that you have a License to Carry.
Remember, as long as your firearm is concealed, you have a valid License to Carry, and you’re not in a place you’re prohibited from carrying, you have not done anything wrong. If you have any questions about carrying a concealed handgun or any other gun questions, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney.