Frequently asked questions
How old do I have to be to purchase or possess a gun in Texas?
Under federal law, a person must be at least 21 years of age to purchase a handgun from a Federal Firearms Licensee (“FFL”). However, under Texas law, if purchasing the firearm through a private sale, the individual only needs to be 18 years old. A Bill of Sale is highly recommended when purchasing a firearm through a private sale. Note that it is a crime for a person to intentionally sell, rent, lease, give, or offer to sell, rent, lease, or give an individual who is younger than 18 years of age any firearm, club, or location restricted knife. See Tex. Penal Code Section 46.06(a).
Under both Texas and federal law, the minimum age to purchase a long gun is 18. A person who is at least 18 years old may purchase a long gun from either an FFL or a private individual.
I just got a handgun, but I do not have a License to Carry (“LTC”)—where can I take it?”
With the passage of Texas Constitutional Carry, people who are legally eligible to carry may lawfully carry a handgun openly (in a holster) or concealed, in non-prohibited places if there is no notice of prohibition that firearms are prohibited.
This means a person—with or without an LTC—who is not prohibited by state or federal law may carry a handgun in a vehicle, a dwelling place, and at non-prohibited places if there is no notice of prohibition that firearms are prohibited. Still have questions? Contact us and set up an appointment with one of our attorneys to discuss where you can and cannot carry.
I have a child or a felon in the home—what do I do with my firearms?
Child in the home:
In Texas, a person can be charged with a crime if a child, who is younger than 17 years of age, gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm and the person, with criminal negligence, failed to secure the firearm or left the firearm in a place which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access. See Tex. Penal Code Section 46.13(b). Therefore, the best practice would be to take steps that a reasonable person would take to prevent a child from gaining access to a readily dischargeable firearm, such as teaching the children not to touch weapons, unloading the firearms, and keeping them in a locked container where a child could not gain access to them.
Note: for adopted or foster children, there may be additional rules and regulations for safe firearm storage in the home. If you have questions about your particular circumstances, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.
Felon in the home:
Felons are prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing firearms under federal law. See 18 U.S.C. Section 992(g). Under Texas law, people convicted of a felony may not possess a firearm until the fifth anniversary of the person’s release from confinement, supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision, whichever date is later. See Tex. Penal Code Section 46.04. However, after that fifth anniversary, the felon may possess a firearm in the home for self-defense purposes only. Therefore, if firearms are in a felon’s home before the fifth anniversary (by way of a spouse or a roommate who legally owns the firearm and happens to live with the felon), the felon must not constructively possess the gun. Meaning, keep the firearm in a locked safe where the felon could not gain entry, and make sure that the felon does not know the combination of the safe.
Who cannot have or receive a firearm in Texas?
There are many people who cannot lawfully possess or purchase firearms in Texas. Generally, the most notable are children, people who have been convicted of a felony, people who have been convicted of an offense involving family violence, people who are currently under indictment or information for a felony charge or certain misdemeanors, people who are addicted to drugs, people who have been adjudicated as “mentally defective,” and people subject to certain protective orders. These prohibitions are a result of both Texas and federal laws.
What ammunition is legal in Texas?
Generally, all ammunition is legal in Texas except for armor-piercing ammunition designed specifically for handguns.
How do I transfer firearms (that are not NFA items) in Texas?
To a Texas Resident:
If you and the other party are both residents of Texas, both able to legally acquire and possess firearms, and the item is legal, you can generally transfer the item without involving or notifying anyone else. Additionally, since there is no gun registry in Texas, there is no requirement to report the transaction. The use of a Bill of Sale or a Bill of Gift is highly recommended, but it is not legally required.
To an Out-of-State Resident:
When transferring a legal item to a resident of another state, you must go through a Federal Firearm Licensed dealer (“FFL”). Make sure to consult attorneys from other states to ensure that there are no additional burdens imposed by the other state and that the item is legal in the other state.
My landlord says I cannot have firearms in my home—is that legal?
Generally, no. Building owners may not prohibit firearms in a renter’s unit in leases entered into after September 1, 2019. However, this only applies to the unit, inside the renter’s vehicle, and the direct and uninterrupted transportation between those areas. For LTC holders, firearms can still be prohibited by 30.06 and 30.07 signs for common areas. See Tex. Penal Code Sections 30.06 and 30.07. For Texas Constitutional carriers, firearms can be prohibited by a 30.05 sign or a similar sign indicating that firearms are prohibited in certain common areas.
What weapons can I carry in Texas?
There are many weapons people can legally carry in Texas. Although the most common weapons are firearms and knives, other lawful weapons include swords, brass knuckles, clubs, and even fist fillers. However, note that when carrying a knife with a blade longer than 5 1/2 inches, there are additional location restrictions (meaning, there are less places you can legally carry the weapon).
Additionally, notable prohibited weapons in Texas are chemical dispensing devices, zip guns, improvised explosive devises, and tire deflation devices. See Texas Penal Code 46.05.
How much land do I need to shoot?
The amount of land required for shooting depends on the item you are using. For instance, shotguns, air rifles, air pistols, BB guns, and bows and arrows only require 10 acres of land, and you must be 150 feet from the residence or occupied building on a neighboring property. For traditional rifles and pistols, 50 acres of land (or more) is required, and you must be at least 300 feet from the nearest residence or occupied building on a neighboring property. For questions about extraterritorial jurisdiction and discharging within city limits, see our blog.
I was denied an LTC—what are my options?
Call our office, and we can walk you through the possibility of an appeal, an expunction, and other possible solutions.
I was denied when trying to purchase a firearm—what are my options?
Call our office, and we can walk you through the possibility of mistakes, the issuance of an National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) Unique Personal Identification Number (“UPIN”), an appeal, and other considerations you need to know.
I just inherited firearms—what do I do?
As long as you are not a prohibited person (or otherwise prohibited from owning, possessing, or receiving firearms) and the estate has been closed (or there is a signed order naming the executor of the will), you will be able to acquire the firearms you inherited in the will. Additionally, if the firearms are located in another state, you generally may bring them back to Texas without going through an FFL, subject to that state’s laws.
Can an officer take my weapon in a traffic stop?
A law enforcement officer can disarm an individual for the length of the traffic stop for the protection of the individual, the officer, or a third party. See Tex. Gov’t Code Sections 411.206 and 411.207. When the traffic stop is concluded, the officer must return the firearm to the individual if the officer determines that the individual is not a threat and is not going to arrest them.
How many guns can I purchase in 1 day / 1 week / 1 month?
Generally, there is no restriction on the number of firearms a person can purchase in a given amount of time. However, if an individual purchases more than one firearm in five business days, then the FFL is required to report the multiple purchase. Although this generally applies to handguns, this can also apply to rifles in Texas.
Can I take a firearm out of the country?
Without going through the proper legal channels and procedures first, never take a firearm or ammunition out of the United States or back into this country. You will likely be charged with international firearm trafficking, and you could even potentially face criminal charges in different countries!
When can I use deadly force in Texas?
Generally, a person will be allowed to use deadly force in Texas when that person reasonably believes that there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death. See Texas Penal Code Sections 9.31, 9.32, and 9.33. Have questions about a particular situation? Call our office and set up an appointment with one of our attorneys.