What You Need To Know About Texas Open Carry Laws Come January 1st 2016
Following the passage of several bills by the governor of Texas, concealed carry permit holders in the Lone Star state will be able to carry firearms openly come January 1, 2016. It's the product of several new pieces of legislation which have traditionally held Texans back from carrying openly. In order to do so legally, the person needs to be a resident of Texas and have a valid concealed handgun license. Non-residents with a concealed carry permit acknowledged by the state of Texas may be able to participate in this as well.
Current Requirements For Texan Concealed Handgun License
In order to be a concealed handgun licensee in the state of Texas, a person needs to be 21 years or older (18 if in the military) and pass an FBI background examination. Fingerprints will be taken for the national database and a medical review will be done to determine if the person is mentally fit and competent to handle that responsibility. In addition, all applicants must pass a concealed handgun course with a rigorous live-fire portion and a written exam.
Upfront CCW License Dis-qualifiers:
• Taking medications that may impair judgment
• Any history of mental health issues
• Non-violent criminal offenses
• Late on taxes, student loans, or child support
• ...And many more...
Texas, for its reputation, is one of the tightest and most scrutinizing in its investigation to determine whether someone is fit to carry a concealed handgun. It's for this reason that the new open carry laws are not really big change for Texans.
Must Have Valid CHL Before Open Carrying
If someone is carrying a concealed handgun in an inside the pants holster, why would they suddenly switch to open carry? Well, if they want, come January 1st of next year – it's allowed.
And even then, open carriage is prohibited in some places where concealed carrying is not. While on a university or college campus, it's prohibited to openly carry but it's legal to concealed carry – though university administrators are still figuring out ways to prohibit any carriage in certain parts of their campuses.
Gun free zones – as dictated arbitrarily by Texan state law – are still gun free regardless of permit. Places like hospitals, schools, courthouses, police stations are all still “gun free” zones according to Texan law.
Private businesses have the ability to regulate the carriage of firearms onto their premises by posting uniform “30.06” signage in both English and Spanish. Those signs have to be prominently displayed right up front so any concealed or open carrier may be clearly informed as to that decision.
In conclusion, the changes to Texan law to allow for open carry is arguably not much of a change at all. It just means that concealed carriers can choose whether or not they want to openly display their firearms in certain places. So, when 2016 is upon us, some Texans may now go about their business with an outside the pants holster instead of their IWBs.
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.