Texas Laws on Purchasing and Carrying Firearms

May 25, 2022


In the wake of yesterday's horrific shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, people across Texas and the country have expressed curiosity about Texas's laws on purchasing and carrying firearms, "long guns," and handguns. Our library has compiled information on this topic that may put current events into context within the law.

Our heart goes out to the victims and those whose lives are touched by this loss. We encourage anyone affected by this tragedy to contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services' Disaster Distress helpline at 1-800-985-5990 for immediate crisis counseling. 

Gun Laws Research Guide

Our Gun Laws research guide includes information on Texas and federal laws that regulate the carry, purchase, possession, and use of firearms. We've also linked to articles, guides, books, and e-books on firearm law throughout the guide. In particular, see our page on Buying & Transferring for more information about laws on buying firearms, background checks, sales across state lines, and more. The Carry of Firearms page also discusses laws that set out who can carry a gun, restrictions on where guns can be taken, and requirements for carrying a gun in public.

Legal FAQs

The library has addressed several commonly asked questions about gun laws in the Legal FAQs section of our website. Here are a few questions about carrying and purchasing firearms in Texas:

How old do you need to be to buy a gun?

Texas and federal law have different age requirements for purchasing firearms depending on the type of gun and whether the sale is through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) or a private seller. 

Can I gift a firearm to a minor? How old do you need to be to receive a gun as a gift?

Texas Penal Code Section 46.06 prohibits a person from selling or giving a firearm to a minor with certain exceptions, while federal law does not include an age requirement for possessing or receiving long guns like rifles and shotguns. Federal law also makes it a crime to sell or transfer a handgun to a person under 18, with certain exceptions. It's also illegal under federal law for a minor to possess a handgun, except in certain circumstances.

Do I need a license to carry a handgun in Texas?

House Bill 1927 removed requirements for first obtaining a License to Carry (LTC) in order to carry a handgun for people who are legally allowed to possess and carry a firearm under both state and federal law. HB 1927 amended many Texas statutes related to carrying a handgun. Prior to the changes on September 1st, 2021, a person needed to get an LTC in order to carry a handgun in public, either openly or concealed.

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