You may have heard about Texas House Bill 910, which became effective on January 1, 2016. The new law makes it legal to openly carry handguns in Texas. If you plan to carry a weapon under the new law, it is very important to make sure you understand your rights and obligations.
What “Open Carry” Means
The new law builds upon existing law, which already allows individuals to openly carry specific types of firearms, such as hunting rifles, as well as those who are permitted to carry a concealed handgun as long as they have a concealed handgun license (CHL).
Under the new law, individuals with a valid CHL are now allowed to either keep carrying a concealed handgun or to openly carry the handgun. The new law does not require people with a valid CHL to complete any extra training or to obtain any new kind of license or certification for purposes of openly carrying a handgun.
On the other hand, the new law does require those with a valid CHL to maintain their CHL and to carry their handgun in a shoulder or hip holster. Furthermore, those with a CHL who wish to carry openly are not permitted to carry a gun openly in certain types of places, such as courtrooms, certain sections of airports, and other places.
Businesses Can Ban Handguns
As most people are aware, open carry laws are not without controversy. Some business owners oppose the idea of people walking into their shops and stores with a handgun in plain sight. For this reason, the law also allows business owners to post notices stating handguns are prohibited inside their places of business. Under the law, business owners can ban openly-carried handguns, concealed handguns, or both.
If you do choose to carry a handgun, whether openly or concealed, it is important to exercise your right to carry responsibly and safely. If you engage in negligent, dangerous, or threatening behavior with a weapon, you are almost certain to face serious criminal consequences.