New Texas Firearm Laws Take Effect

Permits are no longer required to carry handguns in Texas. In June 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation that supporters describe as “constitutional carry.” It’s also commonly referred to as “permitless carry” and, on Sept. 1, 2021, became law in Texas. 

Prior to this law taking effect, Texans who were otherwise eligible to possess and carry firearms (more on that below) had to submit fingerprints, take a four-hour course, pass a written test, and complete a shooting proficiency assessment in order to get a license. This license allowed Texans to openly and concealed carry handguns in the state. 

The new permitless carry law does not abolish certain gun-free zones, however, which includes polling places, many sporting events, secured areas in airports, and schools. The law also does not restore the right to carry a handgun to Texans convicted of domestic violence and certain felonies. 

Other Laws Taking Effect

The permitless carry law received much of the attention in the state. Other firearm-related laws that became active on Sept. 1, 2021, profoundly affect Texans’ rights and responsibilities. Below is a rundown on some of the more notable changes: 

  • “Lie and try” bill. This law makes it a crime to lie on a background check while attempting to buy a firearm. Again, Texans with certain felony convictions are still prohibited from owning firearms. 
  • Abolishing holster requirements for handguns. Previously, Texans who carried handguns were required to hold the firearm in a shoulder or side holster. 
  • Carrying firearms in hotels. As of Sept. 1, anyone staying in or visiting a hotel in Texas is allowed to possess firearms and ammunition. 
  • Lowering age for handguns in certain situations. The old and new handgun-related laws apply to Texans 21 and older. A new law allows certain Texans 18–20 years old to carry a handgun if they are under certain protective (restraining) orders for family violence. 
  • Vehicle transportation of handguns. A new Texas law allows drivers to have holstered handguns anywhere in a vehicle rather than requiring drivers to carry them in a shoulder or side holster.

Other Firearm-Related Restrictions Are Still Active

Texans prohibited from possessing or carrying a firearm should still expect to be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor if they are caught with a gun. Class A Misdemeanors in Texas carry a possible $4,000 fine and a county jail sentence of up to one year. Texans who illegally sell firearms may also be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. 

Attorney Charles A. Banker, III pays special attention to national and state firearm laws and focuses on defending clients who have been charged with firearm-related crimes. Attorney Banker and the rest of the firm have decades of experience protecting Texans’ rights and getting results in court. Get in touch with us today for a free initial consultation.

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The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

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