What You Need to Know about Open Carry in Texas

Constitutional Carry – how could it affect you?

Constitutional Carry, or permitless carry, has been adopted by 15 states within the US. This allows for the carrying of a handgun without a permit or license. In Texas, the License to Carry is currently required in order to concealed or open carry within the state and it is issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Training and background requirements must be met to qualify to receive an LTC. Texas being a “shall issue” state means if you meet the minimum requirements, you will be issued a license.

Permitless Carry in the Lone Star State

Multiple bills have been introduced this year to the Texas House and Senate for permitless carry. Constitutional carry bills have been introduced in years past, but there is much more traction this year for it to potentially pass. There are multiple variations of the permitless carry bills, but the one with the most potential for passing is HB 1911. This would allow any person 21 years old and older that can legally own and possess a handgun to conceal or open carry without needing a license. However, the Texas License to Carry does not go away. It is just not a requirement to carry a handgun.

My Perspective

As a strong 2nd amendment supporter, LTC instructor for LTC Austin, former police officer, father and husband, I support the constitutional right to own and carry a gun. I do believe the any person that wants to carry a gun should receive some form of training. Someone that thinks they know what they are doing, and have received no formal training, could potential hurt themselves or someone else. Carrying a gun is a big responsibility and should not be taken lightly.

I have seen students decide half-way through an LTC class that they no longer want to carry a gun. This decision was made because they did not originally realize the legalities involved with carrying a gun and the potential repercussions of using the firearm for self-defense. With no LTC class and permitless carry, laws regarding self-defense do not change. These same students would strap on a gun and start carrying without having any idea about what is involved until it is too late.

Whether carrying a gun with an LTC or under constitutional carry, each person should take it upon themselves to receive training in two primary areas at a minimum. The first would be to understand Texas gun laws and laws surrounding self defense. This is fairly sufficiently covered in the LTC class. The second area of training would be with your handgun. Each person needs to know how to properly and safely draw the handgun from a concealed holster. This is not covered at all in the current LTC classes.

Why you still should get a License to Carry

If constitutional carry does pass in Texas, the Texas License to Carry a Handgun will still exist. There are 4 distinct advantages to still getting an LTC, even though it would not be required to carry a gun.

  1. Texas Law: it is everyone’s responsibility that carries a gun to know the laws and regulations related to carrying a gun. Whether you intend to get an LTC or not, the LTC class covers laws that are crucial for anyone that owns and/or carries a gun.
  2. Purchasing firearms: federal law is making it more and more difficult to purchase guns. With a Texas LTC, purchasing a gun is much quicker and easier. There is no wait for a background check to be performed.
  3. Travel between states: There are currently 36 states that accept the Texas LTC. This means if you do any traveling, when you go into one of these other states that accepts the Texas LTC, you can continue to carry your gun.
  4. Interactions with law enforcement: Police Officers in Texas can look up any person’s driver’s license information to determine if they have a valid LTC. This makes it simple and easy for a police officer to determine that you are legally carrying the gun. Without an LTC and depending on why law enforcement has made contact with you, you may be sitting and waiting for a while for police to determine that you are eligible to own/carry the gun.

Changes for Existing LTC Holders

If you already have a Texas LTC, there is nothing you need to do. If constitutional carry does pass, there will be no affect to LTC holders. It is also our recommendation to maintain the LTC and stay up to date with the renewals.

Whether you have a gun for self-defense, concealed carry, hunting or any other purpose, make sure you have the proper training and knowledge to do it safely. If you are looking for a Texas License to Carry online class, call us today or go to https://LTCAustin.com.