Sept. 1, 2021, is almost here, triggering many new laws to go into effect in Texas. One of the most highly talked about topics is House Bill 1927 — “Permitless Carry,” or what some are referring to as “Constitutional Carry” or “The Firearm Carry Act of 2021.”
This law will allow handguns to be carried in Texas without a permit. Five years ago in 2016, Texas passed the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) law that allows Texans who completed the mandated safety training course the opportunity to carry handguns.
While the laws have changed this year, Cleveland Police Chief Darrel Broussard is still advising people to receive some form of training as a precaution.
“As a veteran law enforcement officer, I would strongly recommend anyone who plans to carry a firearm in the public to go through some form of certification or structured safety handgun training. There are many other states that have passed Permitless Carry laws years ago. Now Texas will join those States,” he said.
The new law allowing a person to “openly carry” a handgun only applies to individuals who are 21 years of age or older and have no criminal history. Any person who is currently disqualified from possessing a firearm will still be prohibited from possessing a firearm. Lawmakers have also raised the criminal penalties for illegal weapons carried by felons and those convicted of family violence offenses.
Handguns may be carried in public by a person either “concealed”, or carried “openly in a holster.” A person who carries a gun into a prohibited place could face charges of a class (A) misdemeanor up to a third-degree felony. There are many places and events, even with the new law going into effect, where guns are banned in Texas, such as:
- Polling places when voting is taking place*Open to the public government meetings
- Courthouses (exception is if you have official authorization to do so)
- Correctional facilities – local, county, state and federal penitentiary institutions
- High school, collegiate or professional sporting events
- Locations where Interscholastic events are being held
- Access-controlled airport terminals
- Amusement parks
- Bars with state alcohol licenses and permits
When traveling, be sure to check laws for the states you plan to visit or travel through. Some states have laws that prohibited an unlicensed person from carrying a firearm. The prohibited places listed above are just some of the places where firearms are prohibited.
“That is why I suggest citizens who plan to carry receive training. Businesses can continue to prohibit guns on their property by posting written notices or giving a verbal notice to anyone carrying a weapon on their premises. Keep in mind businesses have the discretion to ban open carry, but can allow concealed carry of handguns,” Broussard said. “If a person who is carrying a handgun is warned that they may not carry a gun on the businesses premises, they must immediately depart the premises or face a criminal penalty.”
The new law might be unsettling for some Texans due to the person carrying a firearm possibly not having completed handgun safety curriculum or that they may act recklessly.
“When a person chooses to carry a firearm, they must be willingly to accept the responsibility, accountability and the ultimate liabilities of carrying the weapon,” the Chief said.