Generally speaking, if you want to carry a handgun in Texas you must have a license to carry a handgun regardless of whether your handgun is carried openly or concealed. See the Carry of Firearms and License to Carry pages of our Gun Laws research guide for more detailed information.
In 2019 the Texas Legislature passed a law that creates an exception to this rule for those who are in the process of evacuating from a declared state or local disaster area or those who are returning to that area after evacuating. The exception applies for 7 days after the initial disaster declaration is issued (unless the governor specifically extends that time period). The law does not apply to those who are prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. The law is codified at Section 46.15 of the Texas Penal Code.
Section 46.02 of the Texas Penal Code sets out parameters for when the carrying of a handgun is unlawful. Subsection (k) of Section 46.15 says that Section 46.02 does not apply to a person who carries a handgun if the following 3 conditions are met:
(1) the person carries the handgun while:
(A) evacuating from an area following the declaration of a state of disaster under Section 418.014, Government Code, or a local state of disaster under Section 418.108, Government Code, with respect to that area; or
(B) reentering that area following the person's evacuation;
(2) not more than 168 hours have elapsed since the state of disaster or local state of disaster was declared, or more than 168 hours have elapsed since the time the declaration was made and the governor has extended the period during which a person may carry a handgun under this subsection; and
(3) the person is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm.