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As of September 1, Texans will be allowed to carry handguns throughout the state without having a license or training. 

On June 16, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 1927. HB 1927 is a permitless carry law that allows adults 21 and older to carry handguns in Texas as long as they are not legally barred from doing so. An elaborate signing ceremony was held at the Alamo, despite a mass shooting just the weekend before in nearby Austin that left 13 wounded and one dead.  

Before the new law, handgun owners needed a license to carry, whether openly or concealed. Applicants had to be fingerprinted, trained and tested via a written exam and shooting test. Now Texans can bypass all of those requirements. Republican proponents of the bill say it is long overdue, referring to it as a “constitutional carry.” They argued that at least 20 other states have similar allowances and that there must be no barrier to Second Amendment rights, despite the unprecedented rise of gun violence in Texas and around the country.

In an attempt to speed the bill’s approval, Senate Republicans added several amendments designed to pacify law enforcement opponents worried about officer safety. One of the agreed changes was to enhance criminal penalties for felons and family violence offenders caught carrying a handgun.

The bill also permits people previously convicted of unlawful carry to have that conviction expunged and provides a defense for people who bring their gun “on accident” to somewhere it is prohibited.

Recent polls showed that most Texans oppose the permitless carry change, and Democrats, who say Republicans gave in to pressure from organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA), worry it will make it easier for mass shooters to purchase weapons.  

“This permitless carry bill will cause more violence and loss,” said U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso). “Despite overwhelming support for common-sense gun violence prevention legislation like universal background checks, Texas Republicans, led by a cowardly governor, are more interested in groveling for the gun lobby’s attention than they are in preventing gun violence and honoring victims and survivors in El Paso and across Texas.”

Opponents conceded that the new bill is now law but will continue to fight for increased safety and education measures around it. 

In August 2019, back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso took the lives of 30 people. At first, it seemed the shootings would be enough to prompt gun control reforms in the Lone Star State, as the governor said he was open to new restrictions. But during this year’s legislative session in February, he was back to supporting gun owners and made no mention of those shootings.

Other Bills Signed Along With HB1927

Several other firearm-related bills were signed into law by the governor on June 16. These bills are as follows:

  • Government contracts may not be formed with anyone who discriminates against the firearm industry
  • Hotels must refrain from putting restrictive gun policies in place
  • Handgun owners will have more freedom in their choice of holster
  • Firearms suppressors are no longer prohibited in the Texas Penal Code
  • Firearm and ammunition manufacturers and sellers are considered essential businesses
  • State and local governments may not enforce new federal gun laws

How Should Gun Owners Interpret the New Texas Law?

Just because handgun owners no longer need a license to carry, it doesn’t mean that anyone can go anywhere they want with a gun. There are important restrictions that carriers must note.

The bill requires that the state offer a free online safety course and allow safety instructors to continue accepting students. 

It also only applies to those 21 and older (18 for military service members) who are not legally barred from owning a gun. Anyone who has a chemical dependence issue or is not federally permitted to purchase a gun cannot carry one. Whether or not to allow open carry or concealed carry on private property is at the discretion of its owners, and posted signs in public must be obeyed. Finally, your handgun must be holstered at all times and never in your hand. However, there are no holster mandates for concealed carry.

Handguns are still restricted at many public locations, including but not limited to:

  • Any place where a school or professional event is being held
  • A correctional facility
  • A courthouse
  • An amusement park
  • A bar

The Cochran Firm Texas is experienced in handling personal injury cases for Texans. We are committed to giving every client the best outcome possible. For legal questions or a free case evaluation, call 1-800-THE-FIRM (1-800-843-3476), contact us here or via our online chat now.

5 Comments

  1. Gravatar for CJ Grisham
    CJ Grisham

    There is false information in this article. The law does NOT require that handguns be holstered. The only handguns that must be in a holster are those that are openly carried. Concealed handguns do NOT need to be in a holster (though this is obviously preferable). Handguns are NOT limited at open meetings unless the government entity posts specific signage. Businesses can regulate both open AND concealed carry on their private property. Finally, gun owners don't need a "clean record." They simply can't be prohibited persons. As long as someone can legally purchase a firearm, they can carry it. This doesn't require a clean record because most misdemeanors do not result in the loss of this fundamental right to self-defense. Please correct your article. As the President of Open Carry Texas, I've been intimately involved in getting HB 1927 passed and know every square inch of Texas gun laws.

    1. Gravatar for Anonymous
      Anonymous

      Always good to know who's at fault; Thank you for that!

      I've seen some stupid stuff during my life, but with this new law ... WE FINALLY HAVE A WINNER!!

      1. Gravatar for Kenneth lippard
        Kenneth lippard

        Really? What is stupid about it?

  2. Gravatar for Rob Choate
    Rob Choate

    I have been waiting for the government to finally follow the Constituion-and not the one created for a State Police and run by traitors during Reconstruction of Texas. Over a hundred years later Texas is now a free state: free of those damn carpet baggers!

    1. Gravatar for Carl
      Carl

      What you said is true!

      It is to bad most people inTexas today will not understand it, nor will they take the time to learn.

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