Can I lawfully open carry a firearm in Texas?
Yes, as of January 1, 2016, you can carry any handgun openly or concealed as long as you are licensed by Texas or a state with reciprocity. By law, the handgun must be carried in a "shoulder or belt holster." Long arms do not require a license.
Can I open carry at my university or college?
No, while campus carry is legal as of August 1, 2016, it must remain concealed and you must have a handgun license. To get a license you must be at least 21 years of age (18 for active duty military).
Can everyone open carry a handgun?
No, a person convicted of certain crimes cannot carry a firearm, and minors under 18 years old cannot openly carry without a parent present. Generally if you can lawfully possess a firearm, you can open carry with a license. Federal laws must also be considered when discussing the legality of firearm ownership.
I live out of state, can I open carry in Texas?
Yes. There are no residency restrictions to legal open carry as long as you possess a handgun license with Texas reciprocity. A concealed handgun license in another state allows open carry in Texas.
Can my openly carried firearm be loaded?
Yes. The law makes no distinction between a loaded and an unloaded firearm. For safety purposes, we recommend every firearm be treated as if it were loaded.
I already have a CHL. Will I need to get another license to open carry?
No. Your concealed handgun license will "qualify" you to openly carry a handgun with no further action. The CHL will become just a license to carry.
I heard there is additional training for open carry. Do I need to retake the class?
No, the new training will be added to the CHL classes as mandated by the law for those required to take the class. No additional training required for current CHL holders.
Am I required to use a "retention holster?"
No. While we recommend a retention holster to better ensure that your firearm remains secure while carried openly or concealed, there is no requirement to have any specific type of holster.
What kind of holster am I required to use and how can I carry it?
The law says clearly that openly carried handguns must be carried "in a shoulder or belt holster" that is "on or about the person." The law does not define what a "shoulder or belt holster" is, so this is left up for your judgment. To ensure you don't violate the law, use either a holster specifically designed to be worn around or hung from the shoulder or one that is attached the belt in some way.
Can I open carry using an inside the waistband (IWB) holster?
Yes, provided it is a belt holster, it meets the law requiring a "belt" holster. You cannot open carry in your pocket, appendix or the small of your back without a holster.
"A woman who demands further gun control legislation is like a chicken who roots for Colonel Sanders." - Larry Elder
Do I give up my right to conceal carry if I get a License to Carry?
No. This is incorrect information that has spread around, and has even been mistakenly taught by some instructors. There is no basis for this in law. Carrying a concealed handgun does not negate your right to openly carry a concealed handgun and vice versa. Additionally, it is still legal to openly carry a long arm without a license.
Can I open carry in a vehicle? Yes. You no longer have to conceal your holstered firearm while in your vehicle provided you have a license. If you do NOT have a license, you WILL need to keep your handgun concealed. Keep in the mind that the handgun must be "on or about" your person. This generally means that you must be able to access the firearm without "materially having to change position" to retrieve it. In layman's terms, "within arm's reach." It still must be in a holster.
Can I be arrested for open carry?
You can be arrested for any reason or no reason in Texas. Unfortunately, there are some Texas law enforcement officers that believe in "you can beat the rap, but you won't beat the ride" justice. Open carry is not a basis for a non-consensual stop in Texas and cops that violate your rights can be held civilly liable. If you believe a cop has violated your rights, please let us know and file a complaint immediately.
What do I need before I head out the door?
We strongly recommend you purchase "gun insurance" (prepaid legal services) before you begin your OC journey. It only costs about $13 per month for peace of mind and protects you in the unfortunate event you need to use your weapon in self defense. Self Defense Fund (referral code "OCT") is a sponsor of our efforts and we highly recommend them. We also recommend that you make sure you have a camera or a camera phone that can record video of any encounters with law enforcement, regardless of the type of encounter. Though negative encounters are becoming less common, this is for YOUR legal protection in court should you be unlawfully arrested or harassed.
Now that licensed open carry is legal in Texas, is there a need for Open Carry Texas? Open Carry Texas is not a one-issue gun rights organization. As long as our rights are being infringed upon and groups exist to try and take them away, we are not going anywhere. Additionally, our ultimate goal is Constitutional Carry. We also want to greatly reduce the cost of the CHL, fix some of the minor, nonviolent offenses that cause you to lose or be ineligible to obtain a CHL, and continue to fight for greater preemption and protections of gun owners.
What is Constitutional Carry?
Constitution Carry simply means that if you can LEGALLY posses a firearm, you should be able to legally carry that firearm without government permission. It does not mean that felons or violent criminals can carry firearms as defined by current law.
Is a holster that hangs from the belt that also attaches to the leg legal?
Yes, provided it is attached to the belt, it meets the law requiring a "belt" holster.
Can I open carry on private property?
Yes, provided the property does not display a 30.07 sign. The 30.07 sign will ban open carry, while the 30.06 sign still applies to concealed carry. A business wanting to completely ban firearms is required to post both. However, if the owner verbally requests removal of the weapon or asks you to leave the property, you must respect his or her wishes. Failure to do so could result in the charge of Criminal Trespass and unlawful carry. Open Carry Texas respects private property rights and abides by business preferences by choosing to spend our money at gun friendly establishments. You can purchase "No guns=No money" cards in our store to hand to these anti-gun businesses to make them aware of lost revenue.
Do local law enforcement officers know that open carry is legal?
Yes. Law enforcement officers were required to take open carry training in order to be licensed in the state. However, that doesn't necessarily mean they will respect your rights, so make sure you know the law in those rare instances.
Am I required to show ID if I'm stopped for open carrying?
There is a lot of debate about this both in legal and constitutional circles. If the sole reason for the stop is that you are open carrying absent any other suspicion of a crime, no, based on the legislature's own words in passing the open carry law. It was included in the legislative intent which anyone can read for themselves HERE and HERE in their own words, that law enforcement cannotstop and demand an ID based solely on open carry. They can request it, but according to the legislature and the law, they cannot demand it without PC or RS. You are not required to show an ID or a license to law enforcement unless you are under arrest. Penal Code 38.02 makes this clear. It is important to ask the officer if you are suspected of committing a crime or under arrest. He must have articulable circumstances that a crime was, is, or is about to be committed. Open carry is not solely a basis for demanding ID. If the people that MADE and PASSED the law say so, who is anyone else to say differently? Now, that said, it doesn't mean that there aren't power hungry bullies with badges that won't throw you in jail for daring to question their perceived authority. This is an area where individuals will have to determine for themselves if they want to stand up for their rights or do the easy thing and just ID.
Do I need to retake the class to renew my LTC?
No. As long as your licence has not expired, you are not required to retake the training.
"A woman who demands further gun control legislation is like a chicken who roots for Colonel Sanders."
- Larry Elder
This page contains general information about legal matters. The information is not intended to be legal advice, and cannot substitute for the legal advise of a licensed professional. Stay informed and read up on Texas laws.
Open Carry Texas (OCT) is a non-profit, 501(c)4 organization dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms openly in the state of Texas in accordance with the United States and Texas constitutions and other applicable laws. Donations are not tax deductible.