What to Know About Open Carry Laws in Texas
The new law has created questions among handgun owners who possess a concealed handgun license
on September 6, 2016
Updated on July 18, 2022
Beginning on January 1, 2016, Texas handgun owners who possess a concealed handgun license (CHL), allowing them to carry a concealed handgun in certain places, are now permitted to carry handguns openly in a belt or shoulder holster. While some are championing the new law as a triumph of Texans’ Second Amendment rights, others are predicting that the new law will do little to increase public safety. Both sides, however, can agree that the new law has created questions among handgun owners and CHL holders.
What does the new law allow me to do?
If you already are a license holder, Texas’ new law permits you to open carry your handgun in a belt holster or shoulder holster anywhere that you previously could have concealed carried your handgun. If you don’t have a CHL, you must first obtain one before open carrying a handgun in a public place.
Do I need a separate license to open carry?
Are there places I can’t open carry?
Can police stop and question me if I am open carrying?
Can I face criminal charges for open carrying a handgun?
Maybe, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. If you were involved in a fight, for example, and you pulled your handgun and pointed it at the other person, you could face aggravated assault charges unless you had a legally sufficient reason for having done so. A Texas criminal defense attorney will need to examine the Texas penal code, and your unique situation in order to determine how to handle criminal charges that come from displaying your handgun.
For more information on Texas gun laws, see our civil rights overview.