Important Laws you Need to Know about Owning, Carrying, and Transporting a Handgun in Texas

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texas gun laws

It’s important to keep up to date with gun laws wherever you live.  They vary greatly by state and between states.  We’ve put together a list of commonly asked question related to firearm ownership in the state of Texas to help you find the information you need quickly.  Have a question not answered here?  Let us know!

How old do I have to be to purchase a handgun in Texas?

In Texas, you must be at least 18 years of age to buy a rifle, and at least 21 years of age to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer. Under federal law, it is generally illegal for someone younger than 18 to possess a handgun outside of certain situations such as defending oneself against an intruder or for hunting.

texas gun laws vehicle

Can I transport a weapon in my vehicle?

The most asked question after someone purchases their first handgun is “Am I allowed to have this in my vehicle?”  People are afraid they are going to get pulled over and possibly arrested for having a weapon in the car or even worse. The answer is yes you are allowed to have the weapon in your car. The Texas Motorist Protection Act (HB 1815), permits any law-abiding Texas resident the legal right to carry a handgun inside their motor vehicle in Texas without a Handgun License to Carry or any other permit. As long as you are legally permitted to own a firearm and the vehicle belongs to you. 

But!  

1. The handgun must NOT be in plain view; it must be concealed.  
2. You can NOT be engaged in criminal activity (excluding Class C traffic misdemeanors).  
3. You are allowed under federal law to possess a firearm. 
4. You are NOT a member of a criminal gang.

What is an LTC or License to Carry?

It seems that every state has a different name for the permit to conceal carry a pistol, which can make things confusing. In Texas, concealed carry and open carry are legal, but require a license. The same license works for both open and concealed carry in Texas. This is officially called the License to Carry a Handgun. Prior to 2017, when open carry had not yet been legalized, it was called the concealed handgun license. Here are different acronyms you will find that refer to concealed carry:

LTC – License to Carry
CHL – Concealed Handgun License
CCW – Concealed Carry Weapon
CHP – Concealed Handgun Permit
CWL – Concealed Weapons License

For Texas, all you need to remember is the LTC. This is the license you will apply for through the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Regulatory Services Division (RSD). Be careful of any business or instructor advertising a permit that does not specifically state it is a Texas License to Carry.

license to carry requirements

What do I have to do to get a Texas LTC?

Texas Government Code Chapter 411, Subchapter H sets out the eligibility criteria that must be met. 

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age (unless active duty military) and must meet Federal qualifications to purchase a handgun. 

A number of factors may make individuals ineligible to obtain a license, such as: 

– felony convictions
– some misdemeanor convictions, including charges that resulted in probation or deferred adjudication
– certain pending criminal charges
– chemical or alcohol dependency
– certain types of psychological diagnoses
– protective or restraining orders

The state eligibility requirements can be found in GC §411.172. The federal firearms disqualifiers can be found in 18 USC 44 §922.

How do I Submit an Application for LTC?

You must also submit a completed application, pay the required fees, complete all required training and submit required supplemental forms and materials.

Applicants for an original (first-time) LTC should submit an online application, and schedule an appointment for fingerprinting. Applicants must also complete four to six hours of classroom training, pass a written examination and pass a proficiency demonstration (shooting).

For detailed information regarding training requirements and to locate a certified LTC instructor, see: Training Requirements.

Can I take the class before I am 21?

Yes, however because you must attest to being 21, your application may not be submitted prior to your 21st birthday.

license to carry cost

How much does an LTC cost?

The standard fee for an original LTC is $40. The standard fee for a renewal of a LTC is $40. However, Texas law provides for some discounts if you meet certain special conditions. A complete list of fees along with the special conditions can be found on the fee table.

NOTE: Fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable. If an application is not approved, the fees will not be refunded.

How am I allowed to carry my weapon in Texas?

If you have an LTC you are allowed to conceal carry or open carry.  If open carrying, the weapon has to be in a shoulder or belt holster.  The law does not specify what type of shoulder or belt holster is required and if concealed carrying there are also no specific requirements of how you carry.

What is reciprocity and what states have reciprocity for Texas License to Carry (LTC)?

As far as gun laws go, state reciprocity refers to if other states will honor a Texas LTC.  If there is a reciprocity agreement with Texas, then you may be eligible to carry a handgun in the other state. A reciprocal agreement does not automatically authorize a Texas license holder to carry in another state. It is important to review the agreement for specific details or limitations. Reciprocal agreements and unilateral proclamations can be found here.

If there are any other questions that were not answered here, please refer to the Texas Department of Public Safety or contact us.

About Heart of Texas Shooting Center

We are Waco’s Premier Indoor Gun Range. Conveniently located near I-35 on Hwy 6/Loop 340, we are proud to be a locally owned and operated business.

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