The Texas Gun Owner's Guide

All the Texas gun laws -- not just the partial set Texas DPS distributes!

Covers the information you need to know as a gun owner,
in plain English.




Texas State Constitution, Article 1, Section 23         16
The Dreaded “§” Section Symbol          17
A Word About Federal Law         17
Welcome to the State Gun Laws           18
Reasons for the Texas Gun Laws         18
What Is A Firearm?           19
Air, Nearly, Toy and Non Guns             19
Who Can Bear Arms in Texas?              21
The Federal Prohibited Possessors List         22
Juveniles       23
Federal Regulation of Juveniles            24
Child Safety Law    24
How Do You Obtain Firearms?              25
In-State Purchase  26
Out-of-State Purchase       28
Gun Shows  28
Carrying Firearms             29
Freedom to Carry  29
Limits of the Handgun Carrying Law              30
Inadvertent Display           32
National Police Concealed Carry         32
Additional Restrictions and Exemptions        32
Security Guards and Bodyguards         34
School Marshals    35
History of the Old Texas Traveling Law         34
Court Precedents on Traveling              36
Motorist Protection Act-Guns in Vehicles      38
Parking-Lot Protection Law        40
Transport and Shipping  41
Interstate Travel     41
Common or Contract Carriers    43
Local Ordinances and Preemption       44
Product Liability Limit      45
Frivolous Lawsuits             46
Loss of Rights         47
Forfeiture of Rights          47
Forfeiture of Weapons      47
Reveal and Relinquish     48
Katrina Confiscation Ban            49
Foster Homes          49
State Restoration of Rights         50
Federal Restoration of Rights    50
Firearms Safety and Training    51
Federal Laws Promote Civilian Firearm Proficiency         51



An update for the 2016 License To Carry (LTC) Law is now included)

The Concealed-Handgun License (CHL)       56
General Conditions           56
Qualifications for a Concealed-Handgun License  58
CHL Application     60
Application Background Checks           62
Issuance or Denial             62
Residency     63
Application Denials          63
Replacing a License          64
Duration and Renewal     64
Suspended License           65
Revoked or Seized License         66
Peace Officer May Disarm License Holder  66
Immunity for State Government and Instructors      66
Records and Privacy          67
Mandatory Concealed-Handgun Training     67
Minimum Course Requirements           67
Handgun Categories         68
Marksmanship Requirements  68
School Marshal Requirements              69
Instructor Qualifications              70
School Safety Certification for Instructors     72
Reciprocity in General    74
Texas Reciprocity              75
The Three Reciprocity Lists       76
Prohibited Places List       77
Private Property and Trespass  80
No-Guns-Allowed Signs 81
Bars    83
Federal Facilities  83
Texas Gun-Free School-Zone Laws     84
School-Zone-Law Exceptions    85
Hotels            85
Open Carry              86
Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act      86



Prohibited Weapons         92
Defaced Deadly Weapons           92
State Prohibited Weapons          93
Prohibited Weapon Exceptions             93
Illegal Guns             94
Affected Weapons 94
Other Illegal Deadly Weapons              95
Machine Guns        97
Curios, Relics and Antiques        99



General Restrictions         104
Illegal Trajectory    104
Discharge in City Limits or in Public  104
From Vehicles or Boats    104
Posted Areas            105
Common Nuisance            105
The Land of Texas             106
Texas General Land Office         106
Cities, Towns and Villages         106
Special Cases          107
County Land            108
Indian Country        108
National Forests     109
National Park Service Land        110
Private Land            110
River Authorities    112
Shooting Ranges    113
State and Federal Military Land           114
Certain State Lands          114
Transporting Firearms for Shooting    115
Texas State Rifle Association License Plates           116



Use of Deadly Physical Force    122
Public Duty  124
Necessity     124
Deadly Force in Self-Defense    125
Castle Doctrine       126
Defense of a Third Person          126
Crime Prevention  127
Law Enforcement  127
Protection of Life or Health        128
Protecting Property           128
Precautionary Note           129
Related Laws           130
Aggravated Assault            130
Disorderly Conduct           130
Deadly Conduct      130
Reporting Gunshot Wounds       130
Responsibility         131
Booby Traps             131
Warning Shots        131
Bullet-Proof Vests              132
Keeping Control of Your Firearm         132
Disarming a Peace Officer          132
Criminal Mischief              132
Appointing and Arming Deputies         133
Ballistics Testing and Recordkeeping             133
Defensive Display             133



Hunting on Leased Land             140
Hunting on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Land     141
Public Lands Regulated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.         141
Some Key Hunting Regulations            142



The Main Federal Gun Laws in Effect Today           147
Federal Firearms Transportation Guarantee            148
The Brady Law, Parts 1 and 2     149
Public Safety and Recreation Firearms Use Protection Act         153
Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety Act           154
Antiterrorism Act  155
Gun-Free School Zones Act        156
Misdemeanor Gun Ban for Domestic Violence        158
Omnibus Federal Gun Laws for 1999              160
Federal Patriot Act, Undetectable Guns, Arm the Pilots, Armed Cargo Pilots,
National Police Carry, Lawful Commerce in Arms Protection, Katrina,
NICS Improvement, Multiple Long-Gun Sales, Quarterly Excise Tax
Payments, ACA Health Care Conditions, LEOSA Improvements,
National Parks Ban Repeal, Military Gun Rights, more   160
Spring-Assisted Knives    164



An update for the 2016 License To Carry (LTC) Law is now included)

The Gun Owner's Commandments of Safety            170
Teach Your Children Well          173
School Firearms Safety Program          173
Keeping Children Safe     173
Secured Storage     174
Disabling      175
The Eddie Eagle Program            176
How Well Do You Know Your Gun?    177
CHL Training: Study Guide and Self-Test Questions         178
“Judgmental Shooting”  Shoot-Don't Shoot Scenarios      184
Situational Analysis          185


Appendix A-Glossary of Terms              192
Appendix B-Crime and Punishment Chart    196
Appendix C-The Proper Authorities     198
Appendix D-The Texas Gun Laws Word-for-Word             201
About the Authors              281
Politically Corrected Glossary  283



What Does It All Mean? (Penalties) 50

What Do You Need to Get a Firearm? 52

When Can You Conceal a Firearm? 84

What’s Wrong with This Picture? (Weapons) 96

What’s Wrong with This Picture? (Shooting) 112

There’s Nothing Wrong with This Picture 114

Do You Have to Drag a Crook Inside? 130

Can You Point a Gun at Someone? 132

Growth in Federal Gun Law (Chart) 161

The Noble Uses of Firearms 186

Growth in Texas Gun Law (Chart) 205




This book is really the result of all the help we received, great and small, from the good people who shared their thoughts and resources with us. Thank you.

Ron Bertsch, Deputy, National Forests and Grasslands
Dr. James T. “Doc” Brown, Texas State Rifle Association
Susan Carley, Research and Support
Bill Clede, Sysop, Firearms Forum, CompuServe, along with
Jeff Halapin, M. Scott Hammon, Kelley Hughes, John Rich
and Mark Thompson
Larry Cooper, Marksman Indoor Range, Inc.
Candice M. DeBarr, Research and Support
Randy Gibson, Exec. Dir., Texas State Rifle Association
Tom Gresham, Contributing Editor, Sports Afield
Steve Hall, Conservation Ed. Dir., Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.
Gary Kansteiner, Attorney, Texas Legislative Council
Fred Knot, Research and Support
Marshall Kummel, Research and Support
Cheryl and Tyler Korwin
Jim Lockwood
Jeff Long, Information Coordinator, Texas General Land Office
Joe McBride, President, McBride’s Guns, Inc.
John Molleston, Texas General Land Office
Harold D. Oates, Captain, Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.
Karl N. Olson, Security Officer, Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.
The Honorable Senator Jerry Patterson
Linda Paulson, CompuServe Journalism Forum
Terrence Plas, The Pensus Group
E.B. Reddoch, III, Exec. Dir., Texas State Rifle Association
Richard Shaw, The Pensus Group
David Smith, Alpine Range
Ralph Talbot, Texas State Rifle Association
Texas Arms Rights Coalition, Neil Atkins
Texas Gun Dealers Association
Charles H. “Chuck” Thompson,
American Defensive Firearms Institute
Gabriel Torre, Sportsman Shooting Center
Carlos Vaca, Asst. Commander, Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.
Paul Velte IV, Attorney at Law
Charles Wallace, Coordinator, TSRA Grass Roots
W.L. Don Welch, Chief Ranger, Lower Colorado River Authority
James C. “Jimmy” Williams, Attorney
Karen Ziegler, Red’s Indoor Range
The Texas State Rifle Association
allowed the use of information in their pamphlet,
“Know Your Texas Firearm Laws.”
The National Rifle Association Institute
allowed the use of material in their pamphlet,
“Your State Firearms Laws.”
In their dealings with us we found the Texas Dept. of Public Safety
to be cooperative, professional, hard-working and dedicated to fair
implementation of the complex 1995 Right-to-Carry law.
The Texas River Authorities’ cooperation was greatly appreciated.
Special thanks to Phoenix trial lawyer Michael P. Anthony
Cover design by Ralph Richardson


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