If you’re like a lot of Texans, you take pride in your right to bear arms, and your right to protect yourself, your family and the community. While these rights should be preserved at all costs, it’s important to adhere to the state’s firearm laws, including those that address “open carry.”
To that end, here are some frequently asked questions and answers about open carry in Texas:
How does the state define a handgun? A handgun is a firearm, such as a pistol or a revolver, which was designed for individuals to shoot the weapon with one hand.
How does the state define premises? Certain Texas gun laws say that a firearm is excluded on a specific type of “premises.” Under Sections 46.03 and 46.035 of the Texas Penal Code, premises is rather straightforward. It means a building or a part of a building. Premises does not include parking lots and parking garages, nor does it include streets, sidewalks and driveways.
Can someone call the police if they see me carrying a handgun? They can call the police, but first they should determine if you’re acting suspicious, or if you’re entering a building where firearms are prohibited, such as a school. Citizens are encouraged to the call the police when: 1) a gun is taken out of its secured holster, 2) when the gun holder seems to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, 3) when the gun holder is agitated, or 4) when the gun holder is engaging in criminal behavior or acting in a reckless manner.
Where can I carry a handgun? Under Texas law, you cannot carry a handgun in public unless you’ve obtained a license to carry a handgun. If you have license to carry, you can carry it in a concealed fashion, or you can openly carry it in a belt or a shoulder holster. Even with a license to carry, Texas law prohibits people from carrying a handgun in the following places:
- At a school
- At a racetrack
- In an airport
- On a school bus
- At a hospital
- In a court building
- At a nursing home
- At a jail or prison
- On the premises of a church
- At a polling place where people are voting
- On the premises where a high school or college athletic event is occurring