10 Things to Know about Constitutional Carry

10 things to know about constitutional carry

Must be 21 or older

Just like purchasing alcohol, Texas law still restricts concealed or open carry of handguns to individuals 21 years of age or older.  While long guns (rifles and shotguns) can be carried legally by an individual under the age of 21, handguns cannot.  Prior to the Constitutional Carry law, an individual over the age of 21 could carry a handgun as long as they also carried a license to carry or concealed handgun license.

No requirement for firearms training or license

As of September 1, 2021, Texas law no longer requires formal firearms training or proficiency to carry a handgun either openly or concealed.  Prior to this change in law, any person 21 years of age or older, wishing to carry a handgun on their person either openly or concealed had to complete a license to carry course and demonstrate firearms proficiency.  Under the Constitutional Carry law a license is only required in very limited circumstances.

Holster type is no longer limited to “shoulder or belt” holsters for open carry

With the new Constitutional Carry law, handguns can now be carried openly in a variety of holsters previously prohibited by law including belly bands, waistband holsters, ankle holsters, pocket holsters and thigh holsters.  Texas law previously required handguns be carried openly in a secure belt or shoulder holster whereas concealed carry had no such holster requirement.

A license to carry is still required for travel outside the State of Texas

If you plan to carry a handgun either concealed or otherwise while traveling outside of the State of Texas you should look at applicable laws in your destination State.  Many states have a reciprocity agreement with the State of Texas for either concealed handgun license holders or license to carry holders.  Reciprocity is a legal term meaning each State honors the other’s licensees.  In order to avail yourself of this reciprocity agreement an LTC or CHL is still required.

30.06 and 30.07 Defenses

It is a defense to prosecution for violations of 30.06 and 30.07 (trespassing by license holder) that a license holder was personally given notice by oral communication of their violation of the trespassing and promptly departed the property.  The practical effect of this change in the law is that if you miss the 30.06 or 30.07 sign posted at the entrance of a property but leave promptly after receiving oral notice of the violation, you have a defense to criminal prosecution.

Handguns can be stored in privately owned or lease vehicles in a school parking lot

Any person, including a school employee, who holds a license to carry may now transport or store a handgun, other firearm or ammunition in a locked privately owned or leased motor vehicle while parked in a designated parking area.  The manner of storage cannot be regulated so long as the firearm and ammunition are not in plain view.

No change to law regarding places where firearms are prohibited

The possession of a firearm is still prohibited in polling places, government meetings, courthouses, sporting events, racetracks, correctional facilities, accessed controlled areas of airport terminals, amusement parks, and licensed premises (51% rule for bars, liquor stores, taverns, etc.).

Expunctions for criminal records related to Unlawfully Carrying a Handgun

An arrest or conviction for unlawful carrying of a handgun in non-prohibited places may be expunged.  Whether you qualify for an expunction will depend on the circumstances of your arrest and conviction.  In order to determine your eligibility for an expunction you would need to consult with an attorney.

Firearms purchases through an FFL still require background checks

A firearm purchase through a licensed dealer will still require a background check unless the buyer has a license to carry.  Private firearm transfers are still not subject to background check requirements regardless of license status for the buyer.

Suppressors or silencers are still illegal at the Federal level

The Constitutional Carry Law makes silencers/suppressors manufactured in Texas, with material originating in the State of Texas, legal under state law provided the silencer/suppressor never leaves the State of Texas.  Under applicable Federal Law silencers/suppressors must still be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.  Failure to register the silencer/suppressor with the ATF will be violation of Federal Firearms laws.  The Constitutional Carry law simply prohibits enforcement of silencer/suppressor laws at the State level.