Gun Laws in Texas

Gun laws regulating self-defense and the use of firearms are complicated (sometimes by design) and can vary widely from state to state. As a concealed carrier or other armed self-defense minded person who cares about the rule of law and protecting yourself and your family, it’s important to be well-versed on all the laws that apply to you, including federal, state, or local regulations. To help simplify this process, U.S. LawShield® is collaborating with experienced lawyers in the field of self-defense to produce a book of relevant gun laws for each state.

This time, we sat down with T. Edwin Walker, Emily William Taylor, and Richard D. Hayes III who co-wrote Texas Gun Law: Armed And Educated. Join us as we talk a bit about the subject of that book and what makes Texas gun laws unique.

U.S. LawShield:  It’s so great to have the opportunity to speak with you on Texas gun law, thank you. Let’s start off with the unusual: What is an example of a unique gun law in Texas?

Walker-Taylor: “Texas is one of a very small number of states that distinguish day from night when it comes to your right to shoot. Deadly force may be justified in response to the crimes of theft or criminal mischief… but only if the crime occurs “in the nighttime.” “Nighttime” means 30 minutes after sunset through 30 minutes before sunrise.”

USLS: That does seem pretty unusual! Looking to recent events, how has constitutional carry changed the license to carry law in your state?

WT: “Eligible Texans can now carry handguns, openly in a holster or concealed, without a License to Carry a handgun. But permitless carriers beware, there are a number of strange restrictions surrounding eligibility, location, and signage that can get good folks in trouble.”

USLS: Definitely a case of more freedom coming with more responsibility. So, do Texans have to worry about following federal law, as well as Texas law?

WT: “Yes! Texas law does not trump federal law. There are some Texas laws that are different and more lenient than federal law, leading to much confusion in the Lone Star State.”

USLS: Another recent item; some states now require a person be 21 years old to buy any gun, what about Texas?

WT: “It is legal to purchase a long gun at age 18 in Texas. Texans may purchase handguns through private sale at age 18 but cannot purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer until they are 21 years old.”

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USLS: That’s fairly straightforward. Can you tell me about carrying concealed in Texas?

WT: “Qualified Texans can carry concealed with or without a permit, in virtually any way that they choose. Location restrictions and a dizzying number of statutory signs can prohibit your concealed carry, so know the law before you hit the town with your handgun.”

USLS: And what does Texas state law say regarding background checks?

WT: “The State of Texas does not impose any additional background check requirements over and above the federal law.

USLS: That’s a plus! On a related note, how does a domestic violence conviction, or Class A misdemeanor affect getting a license to carry for Texans?

WT: “Any conviction for a domestic violence offense (often called a “family violence” offense) removes your ability to purchase and possess firearms under federal law. This will also prohibit you, for life, from getting a Texas License to Carry a handgun. Further, any Class A misdemeanor conviction for an offense that occurred within the previous five years will delay your Texas License to Carry until the expiration of that five years.”

USLS: Ok, so does a Class A misdemeanor also affect possession of a firearm under Texas Law?

WT: “Class A misdemeanor convictions that are not domestic violence do not impact your ability to buy a gun in Texas.”

USLS: It doesn’t take asking many questions to see why talking to an attorney is such a good idea. This book will be very helpful! Do I need a handgun license to own a handgun in Texas?

WT: “No, Texas does not have any permitting requirement for the mere ownership of a handgun.”

USLS: Can people exercising their constitutional carry rights wind up accidentally violating Texas Penal Code if they are carrying a concealed weapon without a license to carry?

WT: “Carry laws in Texas are complex and confusing. Well-intentioned gun owners accidentally break the law every day without meaning to do so. You MUST educate yourself on your carry rights, particularly if you do not have a license or permit to carry.”

USLS: That’s everything we had for today, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, and for writing the book on Texas gun law. I’m sure everyone will find it quite helpful, and maybe even help someone avoid unintentionally breaking the law.

WT: “Anytime, thanks for coming by. We hope so too!”


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The information provided in this publication is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current, however, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.