Texas residents will be able to use or obtain a license to carry starting Jan. 1, allowing them to openly carry their handguns in a shoulder or belt holster.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety website, House Bill 910 “authorizes individuals to obtain a license to openly carry a handgun in the same places that allow the licensed carrying of a concealed handgun with some exceptions.”
Those exceptions mean that even those with an open carry license can’t carry their gun “on the premises of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education, on any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education, and by an individual who is acting as a personal protection officer under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code and is not wearing a uniform.”
For those Texans who already have a concealed handgun license (922,197 as of October), a separate license will not be required to open carry and no additional fee will be required, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The department has been issuing updates to the the concealed handgun license since Sept. 1 so that the license is now called a “license to carry” instead.
Those who are currently licensed will also not be required to attend additional training according to the website, however; a new training curriculum will be required for all classes starting Jan. 1. This new curriculum will include instruction on the use of restraint holders and methods to “ensure the secure carrying of openly carried handguns.”
For Tarrant County residents, the Fort Worth Police Department has no new policy in effect regarding open carry, Sergeant Steve Enright said. He also said that he didn’t think there would be any problems with license to carry holders taking their guns into places they aren’t allowed to because they were unaware of the restrictions.
“People who are open carrying are already CHL [concealed handgun license] holders and as such are aware of most rules regarding their licenses,” Enright said.
Texans who want to apply for a license to carry should submit an online application on the Texas.gov website. They will also be required to get fingerprinted, complete four to six hours of classroom training and pass a written and shooting examination.
For more information on the steps to apply, residents can visit the Texas Department of Public Safety FAQ website.