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Understanding Texas Firearms and the Firearm Carry Act of 2021

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski
gun holster

On September 1, 2021, the Texas Firearm Carry Act of 2021 went into effect. The Act passed the Texas state legislature and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in late May 2021.

Gun rights activists laud the new rules as a welcome reform and believe Texas is now the first “pro-gun” state. Gun control activists aren’t so sure. They believe the laws could compromise the safety of Texas citizens and law enforcement.

Are you a gun owner or concerned citizen unsure of the new Texas firearms rules?

Here’s a brief overview of the new Texas gun laws and how they may affect you.

Texas Firearm Carry Act: A Short History

Conservative activists and lobby groups like the NRA pushed permitless carry laws in various state legislatures for years. Though they’ve had little success in the past, the activists and lobbies continued their push and came up with a new way to market these lax gun laws to the public.

They now refer to these laws as “Constitutional Carry Laws.”

Constitutional Carry is a brilliant marketing campaign that recalls the American ideals of our inalienable rights granted by “our creator.” These laws, so advocates say, promote an originalist interpretation of the Second Amendment to our Constitution.

Controversial Public Support

Despite the new branding, the support of permit-free carry has remained mixed. Polling conducted by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune showed that an overwhelming majority, 59%, of Texas citizens do not support permit-free firearm carry.

Polling of Texas Republicans revealed that 56% support firearms carry without licenses, while a whopping 85% of Democrats oppose.

Despite the new law’s lack of popularity, it passed the Texas House of Representatives in June of 2021 with an 82-62 vote.

Basics of the New Texas Gun Laws

With the Texas Firearm Carry Act now law, the Lone-Star state joins several other states that already passed permitless conceal and carry laws. Utah, Wyoming, Iowa, Tennessee, and Montana all removed restrictions on firearms possession. Many pundits claim these conservative states did so in response to President Joe Biden’s vow to enact federal gun restrictions.

Still, there are ways that gun rights activists and owners could find themselves on the wrong side of the law. What does the new law mean for you? Let’s take a look at some of the changes in Texas gun laws and how a criminal defense attorney could be the best way to protect your rights.

No Permit Needed

Before the new law, gun owners in Texas had to obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm. To receive this permit, Texans submitted to fingerprinting, safety training, and shooting proficiency exams.

As of September 1, 2021, Texas citizens are no longer required to complete this permit process. If you are 21 or older, you can carry a weapon legally without a permit.

Restrictions Still Exist

Though the Texas Firearm Carry Act liberates gun owners from permitting and training, there are still restrictions on who can own a gun.

Any Texan with felony convictions or a domestic violence charge may not carry a gun. This restriction means that, despite social media claims, Texas citizens must still submit to background checks when purchasing a firearm.

These new laws pertain not to the rules surrounding the sale of firearms but where and how any Texan may carry them upon purchase.

Other Changes

The Texas Firearm Carry Act was the highest-profile change to Texas gun laws, but Governor Abbott also signed many other changes into law during the last legislative session. All of the following changes in gun laws also took effect on September 1, 2021. Like “permitless carry,” these new laws loosen some government restrictions on firearms.

Second Amendment Sanctuary Act

Gun control measures from the Federal Government are a heavily debated issue. New restrictions can get passed depending on which political party controls the legislative and executive branches.

House Bill 2622 designates Texas as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State.” This law means that Texans receive protection from any possible federal firearms regulations.

Senate Bill 19- Pro-gun Government Contractors

The political winds change, though not as fast as some people may think. With Senate Bill 19, future Texas legislatures and executives can no longer offer government contracts to companies discriminating against firearms and ammunition businesses.

The Texas state government has the power to only contract with companies that maintain a “pro-gun” stance.

Senate Bill 550- Types of Holsters

Before this bill, Texas law regulated the type of holster a citizen could use to carry their gun. If you wanted a pistol, you had to use a shoulder or belt holster that met these state regulations.

Senate Bill 550 rescinds these regulations and lets Texans choose whatever holster they like.

Senate Bill 20- Hotel Restrictions Lifted

Hotels are no longer allowed to restrict firearms. Senate Bill 20 allows any legal Texas citizen to store firearms inside their hotel room.

Hotel guests now face zero restrictions on firearms storage.

House Bill 957- Silencers

It is no longer a crime for a Texas citizen to own a gun silencer. It is also no longer a crime to manufacture or sell gun silencers in the state of Texas.

The repeal of these criminal offenses goes further. Silencers made and owned in Texas now receive protection from any federal regulation.

House Bill 1500- Disaster Gun Sales

As of September 1, 2021, all Texas government entities can no longer prohibit the sale of guns and ammunition during a disaster or emergency.

This law designates gun shops as “essential businesses.” They are not subject to closure during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. The interpretation of this law can now classify gun shop employees as “essential workers.”

The New Rules for Texas Firearms

Navigating the new laws about Texas firearms is a challenge. While lawmakers and Governor Abbott proclaim these law changes as a bell-ringing celebration of freedom for Texas citizens, the new rules continue to receive pushback. Many law enforcement agencies are concerned these laws may put officers in danger.

Responsible gun ownership is the best way to protect your rights. Knowing the laws around gun ownership and possession can keep you from getting into trouble. If you or a loved one is facing legal action related to firearms, . Andrea M. Kolski is here to fight for you. She will use her 21 years of experience to protect your rights and advocate for your gun ownership rights.

Have you been accused of a firearms violation? Contact our office today for a free case review.

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