Texas Constitutional Carry
Don't Panic, LTCs Aren't Going Anywhere
Texas' Constitutional Carry bill (HB 1927) has been signed by Governor Abbot and will go into effect on September 1, 2021.
Why Get a Carry Permit?
Whether someone might want to obtain a carry permit in a permitless carry state will be highly dependent on the specific individual, their priorities, and their lifestyle. In many states, the permitting process is undoubtedly a hassle. However, the important thing to understand is that when a state passes constitutional carry, there are still reasons to go through the permitting process. A few of these important reasons are addressed in this article, below.
Texas has reciprocity agreements in place with other states so that a carry permit issued in Texas will be recognized in other locations. These agreements are generally negotiated between state attorney general offices and are often based on similar training and qualification requirements in each state. Some states have no such agreement and may automatically recognize another state's license or permit. If you live in a constitutional carry state, and you choose not to obtain a permit, you likely won't be able to travel out of state and still carry your handgun.
If you happen to be traveling to another permitless carry state, you are still not guaranteed the right to carry as you choose. Some permitless carry states only allow residents of that state to take advantage of permitless carry. Some only allow for permitless open carry but will not let a non-license holder carry concealed. Some permitless carry states allow license or permit holders to carry in more locations than those who carry without a license or permit.
Remember – the law regarding where you are legally allowed to carry, how you carry, and when you may use your weapon varies from state to state. This is particularly important for people who live or work somewhere that forces them to frequently cross into neighboring states. Ensure that you research local use of force and carry laws whenever you travel outside of your home state with a firearm.
NICS Background Checks
Americans are buying firearms at a record-setting pace. With so many people buying guns at once, the background check system has often been backlogged. A Texas License to Carry a Handgun ("LTC") may expedite your firearm purchase because it acts as a substitute for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System ("NICS").
Many people don't know that carry license and permits in nearly half the country qualify as an alternative to the NICS background check requirement if you purchase a gun through a Federal Firearms Licensee ("FFL"), and Texas is one of these states. While you will still be required to fill out a Form 4473, there is no need to wait on the NICS return.
More Rights for LTC Holders
An additional benefit to holding a recognized license or permit is the ability to lawfully carry in locations that may be prohibited to non-license holders carrying under the authority of Texas Constitutional Carry. These locations include hospitals and nursing facilities (without effective Tex. Penal Code Secs. 30.06/30.07 notice) and open meetings of governmental entities in a location that is not prohibited for some other reason (e.g., a school). Not to mention, there will likely be private establishments that choose to exclude non-license holders but allow LTC holders to carry.
The Law-Abiding Gun Owner
Constitutional carry is a divisive issue—even in the pro-gun community. For many law-abiding gun owners, going through the process to get licensed is an important step that creates a foundation of knowledge to carry safely and legally. Getting a Texas License to Carry requires a baseline of training and skills before heading out into public with a handgun. Some see the idea of foregoing these minimum requirements and carrying in public as a necessary preservation of Second Amendment rights and question the true value of these minimal educational requirements.
Should you obtain or renew your LTC beginning September 1, 2021? Only you can decide whether having an LTC is best for you. However, there are many benefits to having a Texas LTC—even under Texas Constitutional Carry.
Author: Dylan Price
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website does not contain legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Every case is different, and this material is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of, a licensed attorney.