Laws That Relate to Carrying a Handgun FAQs

September 29, 2020

1. I have applied for an LTC. When can I begin carrying my handgun?

You can begin carrying your handgun upon receipt of the physical license.

2. My LTC has expired, and my renewal application is in process. Can I carry a handgun while I am waiting to receive my new license?

No. There is no grace period or extension for an expired LTC, even if your renewal application has been submitted. You must wait until you receive the LTC before you are allowed to carry a handgun.

3. Can I carry my handgun in plain view with my LTC?

Generally, if the law authorizes a license holder to carry a handgun in the location, the handgun may be carried openly, in a holster.  However, Penal Code Section 30.07 authorizes property owners to prohibit open carry by license holders by providing notice of the prohibition. Additionally, handguns may not be carried openly on the campus of an institution of higher education pursuant to Government Code, Section 411.2031, and Penal Code, Section 46.03.

4. Does Texas law require a specific type of holster?

No. Effective September 1, 2021, the references to “belt or shoulder” are removed from the statutory requirements that openly carried handgun be carried in a holster Training material related to the use of restraint holsters and methods to ensure the secure carrying of openly carried handguns may be found on Use of Restraint Holsters (PDF).

5. I currently hold an LTC. Where am I not permitted to carry my handgun?

A license holder may carry a handgun anywhere in Texas that is not expressly prohibited by law. Those prohibitions appear in several provisions of the Texas Penal Code.  The handgun must be either concealed or carried in a holster.  See FAQ’s Nos. 3 and 4, above.

NOTE: It is the license holder’s responsibility to remain informed and knowledgeable of new laws.

For example, §46.03, Texas Penal Code prohibits carrying of handguns and other weapons:

  • On the premises of a business that derives 51% or more of its income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption; such premises are required to post notices under Texas GC §411.204;
  • On the premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting or interscholastic event is taking place;
  • On the premises of a correctional facility;
  • On the premises of a civil commitment facility;
  • On the premises of a hospital or nursing home if effective notice of prohibition is given per Penal Code Chapter 30 (unless the licensee has written authorization); such premises also are required to post notices under Texas Government Code §411.204;
  • On the premises of a mental hospital, as defined by Section 571.003, Health and Safety Code, unless the person has written authorization of the mental hospital administration.
  • In an amusement park (if effective notice of prohibition is given per Penal Code Chapter 30).
  • On the premises of State Hospitals (in accordance to Health and Safety Code, Chapter 552, and effective notice of prohibition is given per Penal Code Chapter 30);
  • On the physical premises of a school, grounds or buildings on which an activity sponsored by a school is being conducted, or in a school transportation vehicle;
  • On the premises of a polling place on the day of an election or while early voting is in progress;
  • On the premises of any government court or court offices (unless the licensee has written authorization from the court);
  • On the premises of a racetrack;
  • In or into a secured area of an airport; or
  • Within 1,000 feet of premises designated as a place of execution on the day a sentence of death is set to be imposed.

Be advised that Sections 46.03 and 46.15 provide numerous exceptions and defenses to prosecution that may apply and should be carefully reviewed.

6. I currently hold an LTC. Does the law prohibit carrying a handgun on public transportation?

No. Texas law does not specifically address any prohibitions against a license holder from carrying a handgun on public transportation.

7. Does the law prohibit the licensed carrying of a handgun in a public park?

No. Texas law does not specifically address any prohibitions against a license holder from carrying a handgun in public park.

License holders should note that some public parks are federal property and are subject to federal laws. To determine if a park is a federal property, see Army Corp of Engineers.

8. What are the laws for licensed carrying of a handgun on a Native American Indian Reservation?

State law does not apply to an Indian Reservation absent a Congressional authorization abrogating tribal immunity.

9. Do private property owners have the right to exclude license holders from their property?

Yes. Private property owners may exclude license holders from carrying concealed handguns on their property by giving the license holder effective notice as provided in Section 30.06, Texas Penal Code.

Also, private property owners may exclude license holders from carrying openly on their property by giving the license holder effective notice as provided by Section 30.07, Texas Penal Code.

For the purpose of these two statutory sections, the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner may provide effective notice.

10. What are the requirements for a sign posted under §30.06 or §30.07, Texas Penal Code?

A sign posted under §30.06, Texas Penal Code, must:

  • Include the following text in English and in Spanish:
    "Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun";
  • Appear in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
  • Be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.

A sign posted under §30.07, Texas Penal Code, must:

  • Include the following text in English and in Spanish:
    "Pursuant to Section 30.07, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with an openly carried handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a handgun that is carried openly";
  • Appear in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
  • Be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public at each entrance to the property.

DPS does not furnish or sell these signs. Private property owners may print the signs or purchase the signs from a commercial printing company. Pursuant to Section 411.017, Government Code, the sign may not reflect the DPS seal or name.

11. Section 30.06 and 30.07, Texas Penal Code, say that a private property owner can give notice using a “card or other document.” Does that mean I can exclude LTC holders by posting a business card or other small document with the text required by Sections 30.06 or 30.07?

No. Sections 30.06 and 30.07, Texas Penal Code, give private property owners some options in how to convey notice to LTC holders. But if the private property owner chooses to post a notice, it must comply with the 1-inch block-letter, contrasting color, and other requirements specified in Sections 30.06 and 30.07.

12. What are the penalties against a license holder for violating §30.06 or §30.07, Texas Penal Code?

It is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $200 for a license holder to carry a concealed handgun onto private property after receiving effective notice under §30.06, Texas Penal Code, or to openly carry a handgun onto private property after receiving effective notice under §30.07, Texas Penal Code. The offense may be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor if it is shown at trial that, after entering the property, the license holder was personally given the notice by oral communication described by Subsection (b) (of §30.06 or §30.07) and subsequently failed to depart.

13. Does a state agency or political subdivision (e.g., a county or city) have the right to exclude license holders from carrying concealed handguns on state, county, or city property?

No. State agencies and political subdivisions cannot use §30.06, or §30.07, Texas Penal Code, to prohibit handguns from their government property. If a state agency or political subdivision unlawfully posts a sign under §30.06 or §30.07, the state agency or political subdivision can be fined $1,000-$1,500 for the first offense and $10,000-$10,500 for each subsequent offense.

Note, however, that with the exception of governmental meetings subject to the Open Meetings Act, license holders are prohibited from carrying their handguns on the premises listed in §46.03  of the Texas Penal Code, and those places include some properties owned by state agencies and political subdivisions (e.g., courts).

14. What does Texas law state regarding carrying a handgun while intoxicated?

While the Penal Code’s prohibition against carrying a handgun while intoxicated does not apply to license holders, the department would nevertheless caution against carrying when one is impaired, whether through the use of alcohol or otherwise. The impairment of one’s judgment regarding the handling or use of a handgun can have devasting consequences for the license holder and those around him or her, with the potential for significant civil or criminal liability.

15. What is the criminal sanction or civil liability for handgun license holders if the person has an accidental discharge of the handgun?

A person may be subject to criminal sanctions and/or civil liability depending on the circumstances. License holders should be aware of the potential criminal sanction under Texas Penal Code §42.01 related to disorderly conduct. Licensees should also know that municipalities may adopt an ordinance related to discharge of firearms within city limits per Local Government Code Chapter 229.

16. If licensed, can I carry more than one handgun?

Texas law does not address the number of handguns a license holder may carry.

17. If licensed, can I carry concealed or openly on the premises of a college campus?

GC411.2031 permits a License to Carry holder the ability to carry a concealed handgun on campuses of private, public, and independent institutions of higher education as long as the institution has not given effective notice that the carrying of a concealed handgun on certain portions of campus is strictly prohibited. Effective notice must conform to the standards under Section 30.06, Penal Code. The open carry of a handgun on a college campus is still prohibited.

18. Are businesses required to accept my LTC as a form of identification?

The Texas Business and Commerce Code requires that most businesses accept a License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) as a valid form of personal identification for access to goods, services or facilities. However, vehicle rental services still require a driver license.

19. Can others find out if I am licensed to carry a handgun?

Information on individuals who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun is confidential and not subject to requests under the Public Information Act. However, DPS may release information about a concealed handgun licensee to criminal justice agencies for law enforcement purposes.

20. Can I carry in my vehicle, and does the handgun have to be concealed?

Yes, license holders are authorized to carry in their vehicles but the handgun must be either concealed or in a holster.