Do you need a license for your handgun in Texas?

Texas has very firearm-friendly laws. Some people think that because of the culture in the state, there aren’t any restrictions on firearm ownership or that if there are, law enforcement officers likely won’t arrest them for breaking those rules.

Given that Texas allows people to openly carry firearms in certain circumstances, you might think that you can also carry a handgun like a pistol in public without any legal risk. Do you need to have a license to carry a handgun in Texas?

What does Texas law say?

While you can openly carry a rifle in public without a license in Texas, the same is not true of a handgun. You must have a license to carry a handgun whether openly or concealed in public. There is an exception if you do so during or shortly after a state or federal disaster while in the disaster zone.

You have to be 21 to buy a handgun from a dealer and to have a License to Carry a Handgun (LTC). Those with certain criminal convictions on their record within the last few years may not be able to secure an LTC.

If police stop you and discover that you have an unlicensed handgun, you could face either misdemeanor or felony criminal charges. The circumstances at the time of your arrest will influence what category of charge you face.

Anyone accused of violating firearm laws in Texas could face substantial penalties. Looking at the evidence against you in the circumstances that led to your arrest carefully with an experienced attorney can help you determine your best defense strategy.