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NEW! Starting January 1, 2016, folks with a concealed carry license will be permitted to now carry openly in TEXAS, per House Bill 910 of the 2015 legislative session. Non-Texans from states whose permits are also recognized by Texas will be allowed to open carry under the new law January 1, 2016.
Q: Can I Open Carry in Texas (in Public)?
A: You can openly carry rifles and shotguns, but not handguns. A CHL is not needed to do this. However, you must do so in a manner not "calculated" to cause alarm; meaning you are carrying the rifle to purposely intimidate or scare people.
Q: Why Can't I Open Carry my Handgun in Texas (in Public)?
A: Texas has long had a prohibition on the open display of handguns. This dates back to the days of Cowboys in the "Wild West" era of the 1800s; contrary to public opinion.
Q: Can I Open Carry on my own Property?
A: Yes, you may carry openly on property that you own or that is directly under your control.
Q: Can I Open Carry on Private Land?
A: Yes and No. You can carry openly if you are in the act of hunting or directly en route to your residence which can include a motor vehicle. You cannot openly carry on property that is not yours, even if the owner gives you permission to do so.
Q: I have a CHL, can I Carry Openly?
A: At this time the CHL only enables you to carry concealed, but there is a bill in the legislature that would allow CHL holders the right to choose to carry openly.
Q: Can I Open Carry in my Car?
A: No, the Motorist Protection Act does allow you to keep a concealed handgun in your motor vehicle without a CHL, but does carry the provision that the handgun must not be in plain sight.
Q: Other States allow Open Carry, Why Doesn't Texas?
A: It's a long story, but the public has only recently been able to carry handguns thanks to the passage of CHL laws in the 1990s, but there has been a large effort to get open carry passed. A bill was drafted two sessions ago that would allow CHL holders to carry openly. It passed committee but did not get any farther due to time. It was reintroduced this session, but has not progressed any further, yet.
For those of you wondering what open carry refers to it's the act of carrying a handgun (generally) that is in plain view in a holster. There is no concealment garment such as a t-shirt or vest that is covering the firearm. This type of personal carry is highly debated in the gun community and carries with it a unique series of pros and cons. Pros for open carry include, greater comfort, easier to access, and offers more choice in firearms (larger frames). Cons would include the giving up the moment of surprise, being disarmed potentially, and the general awareness that you are armed possibly making you a first target for an active shooter. A lot of this is conjecture and "what-ifs" but there's some logic behind them. Contra to some opinions the act of carrying openly can also prevent an unknown number of crimes due to a show of force, and there are holsters and tactics to grealy limit the chance of someone disarming you.
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