Open carry in Texas became legal on January 1, 2016. You can now carry any handgun openly or concealed as long as you are licensed by Texas or a state with reciprocity. By law, the handgun must be carried in a “shoulder or belt holster.” Long arms do not require a license.
Can everyone open carry? No, a person convicted of certain crimes cannot carry a firearm, and minors under 18 years old cannot openly carry without a parent present. Generally if you can lawfully possess a firearm, you can open carry with a license. Federal laws must also be considered when discussing the legality of firearm ownership.
I live out of state, can I open carry in Texas? Yes. There are no residency restrictions to legal open carry as long as you possess a handgun license with Texas reciprocity.
Can my openly carried firearm be loaded? Yes. The law makes no distinction between a loaded and an unloaded firearm. For safety purposes, we recommend every firearm be treated as if it were loaded.
I already have a CHL. Will I need to get another license to open carry?
No. Your concealed handgun license will “qualify” you to openly carry a handgun. The CHL will become just a handgun license.
I heard there is additional training for open carry. Do I need to retake the class? No, the new training will be added to the CHL classes as mandated by the law for those required to take the class. No additional training required for current CHL holders.
Am I required to use a “retention holster?” No. While we recommend a retention holster to better ensure that your firearm remains secure while carried openly or concealed, there is no requirement to have any specific type of holster.
What kind of holster am I required to use and how can I carry it? The law says clearly that openly carried handguns must be carried “in a shoulder or belt holster” that is “on or about the person.” The law does not define what a “shoulder or belt holster” is, so this is largely left up for interpretation. To ensure you don’t violate the law, use either a holster specifically designed to be worn around or hung from the shoulder or one that is attached the belt in some way.
Can I open carry using an inside the waistband (IWB) holster? Yes, provided it is attached to the belt, it meets the law requiring a “belt” holster. You cannot open carry in your pocket, appendix or the small of your back without a holster.
Can I open carry on private property? Yes, provided the property does not display a 30.07 sign. The 30.07 sign will ban open carry, while the 30.06 sign will still apply.
Do local law enforcement officers know that open carry is legal? Many do, but some don’t. Do not assume that someone who has been trained to enforce the law knows all of it. It is important to know and memorize the laws so that you can intelligently and articulately explain them to a law enforcement officer or curious individual.
Can I open carry in a vehicle? Yes. You no longer have to conceal your holstered firearm while in your vehicle provided you have a license. If you do NOT have a license, you WILL need to keep your handgun concealed. Keep in the mind that the handgun must be “on or about” your person. This generally means that you must be able to access the firearm without “materially having to change position” to retrieve it. In layman’s terms, “within arm’s reach.” It still must be in a holster.