Texas concealed carry laws might seem like a big black hole of question marks and grey areas. But don’t let the legal jargon fool you: Texas has some of the simplest gun laws in America. So let’s go ahead and answer some of the most common questions regarding Texas Concealed License (CHL) laws. What’s the difference between CHL and LTC? What’s the difference between CHL and LTC? What’s the difference between CHL and LTC?
1. What’s the difference between CHL and LTC?
First and foremost, what’s the difference between CHL and LTC in Texas? Well, you’ll be glad to know that there is no difference. A few years back, Texas decided to change the name from CHL (concealed handgun license) to LTC (license to carry). This is because if you’re licensed to carry, then you’re allowed to open carry in Texas.
2. Traveling with a Texas CHL — what’s the deal?
If you’ll be traveling out of the state and want to bring your weapon with you, then be careful. You shouldn’t assume that other states will have commonalities with Texas concealed carry laws, so check the CHL laws of whichever states you plan to pass through. Just because you’re licensed to carry in an open-carry state like Texas does not mean that those rights transfer to a state with more restrictive gun laws. If you’re at all unsure, then you can always default to federal law — which basically means the magazine needs to be removed and the weapon should be as far away from you as possible.
While many states will recognize and honor your Texas CHL, there are always anti-gun states to watch out for. If you prefer to always have a weapon in the car — legal or not — it’s probably best to avoid these states.
If you did get caught with an illegal firearm, you’re probably going to need a good lawyer. Make sure you know the signs of a bad lawyer and the answer to the question, “What is a trial lawyer?”
3. Is a holster required for concealed carry in Texas?
No, a holster is not required for concealed carry in Texas. However, holsters are required for open carry. If you plan to open carry your weapon, it must be in a shoulder or belt holster. However, since there are no specifications as to what type of shoulder or belt holster you can use, you do have options. Either way, we don’t advise that you just stick it in your pants and call it a day. That’s a bad idea — both legally and perhaps physically (Just ask Plaxico Burress). An important note: A holster does not eliminate the need for an LTC if you wish to open carry.
4. Can you drink while carrying a concealed weapon in Texas?
According to Texas concealed carry laws, you might be able to have a drink while carrying a concealed weapon in Texas, but you certainly can’t be “intoxicated.” If you’re at all impaired — and this includes drugs — or if you’re above the legal alcohol limit, it is considered illegal to carry a firearm (even if you are licensed).
Additionally, you cannot carry a firearm into a bar. In this case, a bar means any location that displays the 51% sign — meaning 51% or more of their revenue comes from alcohol. In other words, a full-service restaurant with a bar in the front is probably fine. A sports bar? Not so much. If you’re caught at an establishment like this with a firearm (concealed or not), this could spell a felony in your future (or at the very least, a pretty massive fine). If in doubt, look for the 51% signage and accompanying gun restrictions in the window of the establishment you’re trying to enter.
5. What are the most common CHL disqualifications?
There are a handful of CHL disqualifications in the Texas concealed carry laws. Here are some of the most common reasons you might not be able to open carry in Texas:
- You have a recent misdemeanor or felony such as intoxication manslaughter (speaking of which, take a look at our recent article: Can you buy a gun with a misdemeanor?)
- You have a specific type of misdemeanor or felony (recent or not)
- You are not older than 21
- You have a restraining order placed against you
- You are diagnosed with a specific disorder
And remember, even if you have an LTC in Texas, there are still places you are unable to go with a firearm — like churches, hospitals, amusement parks, and schools. Make sure you fully know the Texas CHL laws before you make a habit of taking your firearm everywhere with you.
Have questions about Texas concealed carry laws?
If you’re still feeling a little iffy about Texas concealed carry laws, don’t hesitate to contact us. With one of the best Houston DWI lawyers, Mark Thiessen, on our team, we are the perfect resource to have in your back pocket (unlike your gun).
For more information, fill out an online request for a free consultation, or check out some of our other DWI resources.
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