As many of our clientele and others who own handguns are aware, on January 1, 2016, Texas officially joined the other 44 states that allow open carry of handguns. For our customers in states that already have open carry established, this may be old hat. To our Texas customers though, this is a new territory as Texas has not permitted open carry since the mid 1800's. While many opponents of the new law feared it would cause conflicts and discord among the public, the new law went off without a hitch. Many who support open carry have not even exercised the right to do so, citing the law as principle vs. practical. Handguns have always been synonymous with Texas, being branded the iconic state of the "Wild West," and the open carry of handguns reinforces that reputation according to many enthusiasts.
With open carry being the law of the land in Texas, many wish to exercise that right should they feel led to do so. The question remains is HOW to open carry LEGALLY in Texas. It is a bit more complicated than shoving your Glock 21 in your back waist band "Lethal Weapon" style and strutting the streets. Open carry is meant to be a SAFE and civil manner in which to exercise our 2nd amendment right to bear arms. With safety being the key principle, there are some rules and stipulations that are included in the law which every Texas resident should be aware of. Many customers have raised questions regarding this new law and we would like to touch on some of them. Keep in mind, if you live in another state, please check your local laws regarding open or conceal carry for your locale.
CAN I LEGALLY OPEN CARRY IN TEXAS?
You may open carry in Texas where legally permitted, provided that you possess a Texas CHL (Concealed Handgun License) or a CHL from a state with reciprocity. It is a simple process to obtain a CHL that requires you be at least 21 years of age, pass a moderate training course and pay the license fee. More information can be obtained by visiting the Texas DPS CHL program site here.
CAN MY FIREARM BE LOADED WHILE OPEN CARRYING?
Yes, the law does not require your handgun to be unloaded. At Locked and Loaded we always recommend if you are going to carry, carry ready to use. And always treat any handgun as if it were loaded.
CAN I OPEN CARRY IN MY HAND OR POCKET?
No! You must have your handgun holstered on your person in a "Belt Holster," which is a specific type of holster that attaches to the belt. You can use a leg holster as well, provided it attaches to the belt. The only other permitted option is a shoulder holster which attaches over the shoulder. These are the ONLY manners in which open carry on your person is permitted.
CAN I OPEN CARRY IN MY VEHICLE?
Yes, you must have a CHL to open carry in your vehicle, and the weapon must still be holstered. In Texas there is no permit required to conceal carry in your vehicle. If you wish to open carry however, you MUST have a CHL and still have it holstered on or about your person. In plain English, it must be within arms reach AND holstered. It can not be just laying on the seat next to you unholstered. With some creativity you can mount one of our fine holsters to your vehicle and be within the law provided you have your CHL.
CAN I CARRY AT MY UNIVERSITY?
We hear this often from concerned students given the rash of shootings at universities. While open carry is NOT legal on college campuses, on August 1, 2016, licensed individuals will be allowed to CONCEAL carry on college campuses as legally permitted.
CAN SOME ESTABLISHMENTS BAN OPEN CARRY, CONCEAL CARRY OR BOTH?
Yes, private institutions have the right ban open carry, conceal carry or both provided they give proper legal notice via a posted 30.07 (banning open carry) or 30.06 (banning concealed carry) signs that meet the legal standards for such signs. However if the owner or employee of a private establishment does not have the signs posted and verbally asks you not to carry or in writing, you must comply under Texas Law. More information on 30.07 and 30.06 provisions can be obtained via the Texas CHL site link mentioned earlier.
At Locked and Loaded we want our customer as informed of their rights as possible, an educated gun owner is a customer for life, because we make the best holsters on the market for open AND conceal carry. Our Tucker leather products are crafted from the finest materials and endure a strict quality assurance test that have made our brand what it is today. Visit our online shop to find the perfect fit for all your carry needs.
*Information contained in this blog is provided as a courtesy of Locked and Loaded Gun Gear to assist you with your carry needs. This information should not be considered as a substitute for legal advice or services. Locked and Loaded maintains no liability of loss or consequences arising from use of said information. You are responsible for roles an attorney should otherwise handle. If you have legal questions, you are advised to consult an attorney or make a decision based on your own study and conclusions of the laws pertaining to the jurisdiction of your residence.