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In Texas, What Happens If You Carry A Gun Without a License?

Gun laws can vary from state to state, so the simple act of figuring out whether you’re breaking the law can be a confusing one.

Texas has some of the more lenient laws, but that doesn’t mean it’s free from restrictions. To grasp what those restrictions are, let’s first look at the difference between the two major forms of licensure.


LTC is the short form for “license-to-carry.” According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, “Applicants must be at least 21 years of age (unless active duty military) and must meet Federal qualifications to purchase a handgun.”

Factors that may make one ineligible:

  • Felony convictions
  • Some misdemeanor convictions, including charges resulting in probation or deferred adjudication;
  • Certain pending criminal charges;
  • Chemical or alcohol dependency;
  • Certain types of psychological diagnoses; and
  • Protective or restraining orders

With a CCW permit, you are licensed for concealed carry (i.e., you do not have to disclose the weapon is actually on your person).

Same rules for eligibility apply.

Carrying a Gun Without a License

Texas has established the LTC and CCW as a means of allowing their citizens to openly carry firearms. But “license” is the keyword here. You cannot carry a firearm with you anywhere and everywhere that you go (Texas Pen. Code § 46.035).

If you do carry a gun without a license, it must meet a specific criteria. The only way you can openly carry is if the gun is in your vehicle or watercraft or the vehicle or watercraft is under your control, and there are no laws with regard to the carrying of long guns such as rifles and shotguns.

Most Texas laws, especially those since 2015, favor more rights for LTC/CCW gun owners, to the point that even school districts may not prohibit the carrying of a firearm provided the carrier is licensed to do so.

If you’re not licensed to do so, you are committing a violation. The punishment for gun possession violations may include a fine of up to $2,500 and/or one year in jail.

One Final Consideration

While Texas is somewhat lenient on licensed and unlicensed gun owners, it should be noted that Texas licenses are not recognized everywhere you go. In fact, currently, 16 U.S. states do not honor Texas’ CCW/LTC permitting. So keep that in mind when traveling across state lines.

If you do find yourself in need of legal assistance, John Teakell has defended gun cases of all types since 1985. Contact his office today with any questions or concerns or to set up a free consultation.

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