The Texas Constitution protects a citizen’s right to bear arms—a right the state has the power to regulate where you can and cannot carry a gun as a matter of public safety and crime prevention. If you’re a gun owner in Texas, some terms and rules can be confusing.
Luckily, the law can be easily broken down to help you understand where you can carry a firearm in this state to help you avoid legal trouble.
A License to Carry a Handgun
Each state has different names for permits that allow individual carry of a concealed weapon, which can cause some confusion.
In Texas, both open carry and concealed carry are legal – and both require a license.
Luckily, the same license called a License to Carry a Handgun (LTC), works for both.
In Texas, an LTC is applied for through the Texas Department of Public Safety Regulatory
Services Division. No other permit is required, so don’t fall victim to any business or instructor trying to sell you another type of permit.
Texas Firearm Training Requirements
A License to Carry a Handgun does require training, though, which can be done either in person or online.
LTC Online Courses
There are approved online course providers for an LTC that can be taken from the comfort of your home. Just as with the in-person version, it requires a minimum of four hours of class time.
The classes are broken down into 20-minute videos that contain the information you need to pass a quiz at the end of the course.
At the completion of the online course, you are issued a certificate of completion that must then be taken to an instructor so you can pass a proficiency demonstration.
In-Person LTC Classes
An in-person class is a more cost-effective option. They normally occur over the course of one weekend with a live instructor, which some people prefer.
The format is essentially the same as the online course where you are instructed and then must pass a quiz at the end. You then must complete the shooting portion with a certified LTC instructor.
Where You Can (and Cannot) Carry a Firearm in Texas
Even with an LTC, there are places you are allowed to carry your firearm and places you are not.
You are allowed to carry your weapon, concealed or open, in:
- National and State Forests
- State Parks
- Your own vehicle
- Rest Areas
- Any place not listed as off-limits
The places that are off-limits to carry a firearm even with the proper permits include:
- Any business that derives over 50 percent of its income from the service or sale of alcohol to be consumed on the premises
- At a correctional facility
- At a school sporting event, professional sporting event, or interscholastic event
- At a nursing home or hospital
- At an amusement park
- At a place of worship such as a synagogue or a church
- At any governmental meeting
- At a racetrack
- In the secured areas of an airport
- At polling places on an election day
- Anywhere carrying a firearm is prohibited under Federal Law
- You may also not carry a handgun, even with the correct permit, if:
- You are intoxicated
- It is not properly holstered in plain view
- You are a member of a criminal street gang
- You are involved in a criminal activity
The state of Texas works hard to preserve your right to own a firearm, so do your part to stay on the right side of the law.