Pistol in hand of a man

Understanding Gun Possession Laws & Traveling With a Gun

Law Offices of Thomas R. Cox III April 11, 2023

Texas is known for having a large number of firearm owners. In 2021, there were nearly 1.7 million people with state-regulated licenses to carry. In the same year, over 8,400 licenses to carry a handgun were denied, suspended, or revoked.  

Understanding possession and carry laws is important before purchasing a gun. At the Law Offices of Thomas R. Cox III, Tom Cox works hard to inform his clients and the public about gun possession laws in Dallas, Texas. He also provides legal counsel related to gun ownership to individuals in neighboring areas, such as Irving, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Highland Park, University Park, and Dallas County.  

Texas Possession and Carry Laws

Texas gun possession and carry laws are more flexible compared to other states. The following key points highlight Texas possession and carry laws: 

  • Gun Possession. Texas residents ages 18 or older can possess firearms without a license, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns. 

  • Open Carry. House Bill 1927 allows Texans 21 and over to carry handguns (openly or concealed) without obtaining a state-issued license (as long as they are not excluded from possessing a firearm by another federal or state law). 

  • License to Carry. As of 2021, people who qualify under the law can carry a handgun in a public place in the state without a license to carry (LTC). Texans can still apply for an LTC since it can provide additional benefits.   

  • Campus Carry. Public four-year universities and public two-year colleges must allow concealed carry in campus buildings. Institutions are able to establish rules and regulations regarding safety, but generally, they can’t prohibit concealed carry on campus. 

  • Gun-Free Zones. There are some areas where guns are prohibited, even for licensed carriers. These include schools, polling places, government buildings, and bars that derive more than 51% of their revenue from alcohol sales. 

  • Background Checks. Texas does not require background checks for the private sales of firearms. However, sellers with a federal firearms license will conduct background checks.  

  • Castle Doctrine. Texas has a “Castle Doctrine” law, which allows individuals to use deadly force to defend themselves or their property against intruders. 

Note that gun laws are subject to change, and individuals should always ensure they are up to date on the latest regulations before purchasing or carrying a firearm in Texas. 

Areas Where Firearms Are Permitted in Texas

In Texas, guns are generally allowed in the following places: 

  • Private Property. Guns are allowed on private property with the owner’s permission. 

  • Public Places. Individuals who qualify under the law can carry an open or concealed handgun in public places, such as parks, sidewalks, and restaurants, as long as they are not prohibited by state or federal law. 

  • Vehicles. Guns can be carried in vehicles as long as they are not in plain view and the person carrying the gun is not committing a crime. 

  • Places of Worship. Churches and other places of worship can allow licensed individuals to carry guns on their premises, but this is at the discretion of the religious organization. 

  • Colleges and Universities. Texas allows licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns on the premises of public colleges and universities, with some exceptions. 

Areas Where Firearms Are Prohibited in Texas

There are several areas in Texas where firearms are typically prohibited: 

  • Schools and School Events. Guns are prohibited on the premises of public and private schools, as well as at school-sponsored events. This rule includes both K-12 schools and colleges and universities. 

  • Polling Places. Firearms are not allowed within 100 feet of a polling place on election day. 

  • Government Buildings. Guns are prohibited in government buildings such as courthouses, jails, and other locations where court proceedings are held. 

  • Secure Areas of Airports. Guns are not allowed in secure areas of airports, including passenger terminals and boarding areas. 

  • Racetracks. Firearms are not allowed at racetracks or other sporting events where wagering occurs. 

  • Bars and Clubs. Guns are prohibited in any establishment that generates more than 51% of its revenue from the sale of alcohol. 

  • Amusement Parks. Firearms are not allowed in amusement parks, including water parks and theme parks. 

  • Hospitals and Nursing Homes. Guns are not allowed in hospitals, nursing homes, or other medical facilities. 

It’s important to note that there may be other locations where firearms are prohibited, depending on local ordinances or private property rules. 

Traveling With a Gun to Another State

Traveling with a gun to another state can be complicated as gun laws can vary widely from state to state. Here are some key points to keep in mind: 

  • Research the laws of the destination state. Before traveling with a gun to another state, it’s important to research the laws of the destination state to ensure that the gun is legal and that the carrier complies with all applicable regulations. 

  • Check reciprocity. Many states have reciprocity agreements recognizing the concealed carry licenses issued by other states. It’s important to check whether the destination state has such an agreement with the state where the license was issued. 

  • Transport the gun safely. When traveling with a gun, it should be transported unloaded and in a locked container separate from any ammunition. The container should be inaccessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle. 

  • Declare the gun when flying. If flying with a gun, it should be declared to the airline during the check-in process. The gun must be unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided container. 

  • Be aware of prohibited locations. It’s important to be aware of any locations where guns are prohibited in the destination state, such as schools, government buildings, and other sensitive areas. 

  • Check local laws. Even if a state recognizes the concealed carry license of another state, it’s important to check local laws and regulations, as some areas may have additional restrictions or prohibitions. 

Legal Guidance You Can Trust

At the Law Offices of Thomas R. Cox III, Tom Cox doesn't play games with his clients’ rights to gun possession. He defends his clients if they are charged with gun crimes to achieve the best possible outcome. Call today to speak with an experienced firearm charges attorney. Tom Cox will have your back when you need it the most. Don’t delay. The clock is ticking.