On January 1, 2016, Texans were granted the right to openly carry handguns. Although the law has been criticized and enamored by many, there are some specific factors that you need to consider. In some cases, you may be ineligible for participation in open carry and could be charged with illegal possession of a firearm should you openly carry a gun. In addition, some media outlets have spread poor quality information about the law. Fortunately, most of the information can be broken down into what type of application and information is required, what requirements are in place, and special considerations for open carry.
The LTC License
Before the open carry law went into effect, Texans had the right to carry a concealed handgun with a concealed handgun license (CHL), asserts the Texas Department of Public Safety. However, the type of license changed. Instead of a CHL, those who want to carry openly must obtain a license to carry (LTC). This is basically the same type of license. For those who already had a CHL, the right to open carry is grandfathered in until the license expires.
Application Requirements of the LTC
Applicants for an LTC must be at least 21-years-old unless on active military duty. Additionally, applicants must meet the standard, federal requirements for purchasing a handgun. For example, those with a felony conviction are ineligible for the LTC.
All applicants must take an approved classroom training course of at least six hours, pass a written exam, and pass a “shooting” examination.
Applicants must submit to a federal background check through the use of electronic fingerprinting. Negative marks on the federal background check may result in ineligibility for a LTC. Additionally, certain events result in ineligibility as well, which are as follows:
- Receiving a DWI results in ineligibility for a time period of five years.
- Being delinquent on child support obligations.
- Committing perjury (lying or not disclosing accurate information) on the application.
Special Considerations For Open Carry Texas
All persons with a LTC are required to carry the LTC on their person when openly carrying. A law enforcement official may request the document to be presented at any time, for any reason. Also, the law requires all openly carried handguns to be placed in a belt or holster to meet legal requirements.
Carrying a concealed handgun is still permissible with a LTC as long as the handgun is placed in a belt or holster. However, some places may have specific restrictions for openly carrying a handgun.
For example, handguns may not be permitted on college campuses, on the grounds of businesses that sale alcoholic beverages, at a correctional facility, at any governmental meetings, at polling places, at school, in airports, and many other places. Businesses are required to post explicit signage that prohibits open carry on the premises as well.
Although many of the requirements and special considerations of openly carrying a handgun in Texas seem standard, it’s important to remember that violations can and probably will result in a weapon’s charge. Above all else, remember that the right to bear arms does not automatically grant open carry on private businesses, and it is up to the business to allow or deny that action. By understanding how openly carrying a handgun is Texas is regulated, you can help to avoid incurring a costly weapons charge. To learn more about weapons charges in Texas, contact the Hampton Law Firm online or by phone at 817-435-2909 today.