Texas Open Carry FAQ
Beginning on January 1, 2016, H.B. 910 will allow a person with a current concealed handgun license, or a person who obtains the new "license to carry a handgun," to carry a handgun in a concealed manner or openly in a belt or shoulder holster. The rules related to where and when a license holder may openly carry are essentially identical to where and when a concealed handgun license holder can carry under current law.
Question: If a person is open carrying a handgun, how does a police officer determine if he is carrying the handgun legally?
Answer: Constitutional carry did not pass in Texas, so a police officer has the right to ask you to prove that you have a HL (Handgun License). If you are asked by a police officer to prove that you are allowed to carry a handgun, you must produce identification.
Question: If I see a person open carrying a handgun, should I call the police?
Answer: Yes you can call the police, but before you call, observe how the person is acting. If they are acting suspicious, or enter a building such as a school, then please give us a call. But, if they are simply at a gas station filling up their car, then they are probably a law abiding citizen who is legally open carrying.
Question: If you are walking down a street, and an officer approaches you, is it a voluntary encounter, or at this point am I “detained”?
Answer: Technically, you are temporarily detained so that the officer can check your license and make sure that you are legally able to carry a handgun.
Question: If I am open carrying a handgun, am I allowed to get out of my car, take the holster off my belt, and place it into the trunk of my car?
Answer: Yes you are able to do that.
Question: As a parent, I am concerned with my kids being around people open carrying a handgun. What do I tell my kids to do when they see someone with a pistol on their hip?
Answer: Again, it is situational. If your kids see someone in a grocery store shopping, they should not be alarmed if that person is carrying a handgun. But if they are at school, and they see a person (who is not a Police officer) carrying a gun, they should immediately tell someone and/or call 911.
Question: In a government building such as a police station, can someone carry a handgun?
Answer: Yes you can, but only in the areas that are open to the public. So if that person has to go to a portion of the building where a normal citizen would not be allowed, they are not allowed to carry a handgun. If you are in this position where you are not sure if you can carry or not, it is recommended that you leave your handgun in your vehicle.
Question: Will the presence of an open carried handgun during a verbal altercation between two people, elevate this altercation to an aggravated assault because a handgun has been “exhibited”?
Answer: No, it will not be considered aggravated assault as long as the person carrying the weapon was not threatening to use it.
Question: Since an open carried weapon must either be carried in a shoulder holster or a belt holster, will there be a set standard that constitutes what is considered a shoulder or belt holster?
Answer: Currently there is no standard that constitutes what is a shoulder or belt holster.
Question: If an officer sees me openly carrying a handgun in a shoulder or belt holster, is that officer legally able to ask me for proof that I have a HL?
Answer: Yes, since constitutional carry did not pass, the officer is within his or her right to ask you for your license. Also, when you get your HL, you are instructed that if a police officer asks you for your HL license, you must provide it.
Question: If I am carrying a handgun, and I am approached by a police officer, what steps should I take to ensure that the police officer and myself both feel safe during this transaction?
Answer: Do as the officer asks. Tell the officer you are carrying a weapon and have a license to do so. Do not reach for the weapon, have the officer tell you what to do with the weapon.
Question: Will we have access to information that simplifies the penal code down into easily understandable facts for the general public?
Answer: The police department will have information available on the basic facts of the open carry laws.
Question: Once a police officer determines that you are carrying a handgun legally, does the situation turn from the person being detained, to being a casual encounter?
Answer: Yes. After the person has proved that they are carrying a weapon legally, they are free to go as long as the only reason they were stopped was for proof for a HL.
Question: If I want to prohibit both concealed carry and open carry in my private business what signs do I need to have displayed?
Answer: You must have the 30.06 (concealed carry) and the 30.07 (open carry) signs posted in the front windows of your business.
Question: If I am a private business owner and I do not have the proper 30.06 and 30.07 signs posted and I ask someone to leave my store who is carrying a weapon, are they still legally required to leave even though I don’t have the proper signs?
Answer: Yes. As a private business owner you can tell someone to leave if they are carrying a weapon whether you have or don’t have the proper signs posted.
Question: If I use a “drop leg” holster that holds my gun around the middle of my thigh, will I get arrested for having an improper holster?
Answer: No you will not be arrested for that type of holster. It is still mounted to your belt which is the requirement in the law.
Question: If my private business has multiple entrances, can I post the 30.06 and 30.07 signs at the main entrance, or do I need to post them at every entrance?
Answer: You must have them posted at all entrances.
Question: Does a citizen have the right to ask a HL carrier for proof of licensing?
Answer: No. A citizen does not have the right to ask a HL carrier for proof that he or she is legally carrying a weapon.
Question: Since open carry is now legal, does that mean that I am no longer able to conceal my handgun?
Answer: The open carry law gives you the option to conceal your handgun or carry it out in the open.
Question: What advice would you give to someone who is feeling anxious or intimidated in an open carry environment?
Answer: Open carry is going to be something that everyone will have to get used to. Initially it will be weird to see someone carrying a handgun in the grocery store, but it is important to know that the people who are open carrying a gun are law abiding citizens and are not there to intimidate or hurt you.
Question: Since the public is not allowed to open carry a weapon, will you allow off duty police officers to be able to open carry their handgun?
Answer: No. Off duty police officers will still be required to conceal their handgun. However, if an officer wants to go and get their HL, they will be allowed to carry a handgun out in the open as long as they are not carrying it under the authority or general orders of the Police Department.
Question: Some organizations that are in opposition to open carry, have said that if they see someone openly carrying a handgun, they will call 911 and say that person is being aggressive and threatening people with the weapon. How will the police handle situations like this.
Answer: The police will act with caution when approaching the person, they will collect the facts, and when it is found that this person was doing nothing wrong, the investigation will be turned towards the person who made the false 911 call.
You may look up the Texas State Statutes on the New Open Carry laws here.
You mau also download a document from the Harrison County District Attorneys Office about Texas Open Carry
If you have further questions you may contact Lt. Stone with the Marshall Police Department at 903-935-4544.