Texas, known for its strong support of the Second Amendment, has some of the most permissive gun laws in the United States. These laws, which govern the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition, have undergone significant changes over the years, particularly since 2021.
In Texas, there are no specific restrictions on who can carry a long gun such as a rifle or shotgun. However, the laws around carrying handguns have seen substantial revisions. As of September 1, 2021, House Bill 1927 made it legal for most people aged 21 or over to carry a handgun in a holster without a permit, both openly and/or concealed. This change is often referred to as “permitless carry” or “constitutional carry.”
While Texas does not require a person to pass a criminal background check before purchasing a firearm from an unlicensed seller, federal law still mandates licensed dealers to conduct background checks before selling firearms. This means that if you’re purchasing a firearm from a private seller, they are not required by Texas law to run a background check. However, all commercial sales, whether in-store or online, must comply with federal background check requirements.
Texas law now forces colleges and universities to allow guns on their campuses. In K–12 schools, school personnel are also allowed to carry guns. These laws were enacted with the intention of increasing safety measures within educational institutions.
While Texas gun control laws are among the least restrictive in the U.S., there are still regulations around certain types of firearms and ammunition. Machine guns, saw-off shotguns, silencers, armor-piercing bullets, zip guns, and explosive weapons are regulated under Texas law.
In the last two legislative sessions, Texas legislators have loosened gun laws, most notably by passing permitless carry in 2021. This means that a large majority of Texans aged 21 and over can legally carry handguns without a permit, whether openly or concealed. This has been a significant change in the state’s approach to gun regulation.
Texas gun laws, while less restrictive compared to many other states, still require a solid understanding from residents and visitors alike. Failure to comply with these laws can result in serious legal consequences. Always remember that owning a firearm comes with the responsibility of understanding the relevant laws and using firearms safely and legally.
For more detailed information on Texas gun laws, consider visiting the Texas State Law Library’s guide on gun laws, or consult with a legal professional.