Texas no longer requires people who can legally possess a firearm under both state and federal law to have a License to Carry (LTC) in order to carry a handgun. This change went into effect on September 1st, 2021, as a result of the passage of House Bill 1927. Read a summary of the changes in the House Research Organization's bill analysis of HB 1927 [PDF].
Previously, Texas residents who wished to carry a handgun either openly or concealed needed to obtain a License to Carry (LTC) issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the state agency that oversees the handgun licensing program.
However, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1927 in the spring of 2021, which allows a person who is otherwise eligible to carry a handgun on their person without an LTC or other required training. Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 1927 into law on June 16th, 2021, and it became effective on September 1st of this year. This act is known as the Firearm Carry Act of 2021 and is sometimes referred to as the "constitutional carry bill."
To carry a firearm in Texas, a person must be at least 21 years of age and not be otherwise barred from possessing a firearm under both Texas and federal law. Laws regarding firearms can be complex — we urge you to speak with an attorney if you aren't sure if you are prohibited from carrying a firearm. As librarians, we cannot help you determine whether you are legally allowed to carry or possess a firearm.
This bill does not extend the right to carry a firearm for anyone who was already barred from possessing a firearm under state and federal law, according to Section 2, subsection (3):
persons who are currently prohibited from possessing firearms under state and federal law will not gain the right to possess or carry a firearm under this legislation
Section 4 of the bill also identifies people prohibited from carrying under the new law:
Firearms are always restricted in certain places, like schools, correctional facilities, secured areas of airports, etc. HB 1927 updated the list of places where guns are prohibited for anyone carrying a firearm rather than just license holders. Be sure to review both the new bill and Section 46.03 of the Texas Penal Code for a consolidated list of places where firearms are always prohibited.
Firearms may also be restricted on private businesses or other private property as Texas law allows private property owners to choose whether to allow firearms on their property. If guns are not allowed on the property, this will generally be indicated through signage or some other form of notice. Please see the "Where can I carry a gun?" box on our Gun Laws guide's Carry of Firearms page.
HB 1927 did not repeal the LTC program, and Texans who wish to get a license may still apply for one with the Texas Department of Public Safety. It's possible that obtaining an LTC may have other benefits, like allowing the licensee to carry in states that have reciprocity agreements with Texas or acting as an alternative to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check when purchasing a firearm. The Texas DPS lists the benefits of a Texas LTC on its website.