For 18 years this book was
BY THE TEXAS DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY
FOR USE IN CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSE TRAINING."
The department no longer officially approves training materials,
and the CHL has been converted to a License to Carry (LTC)
now that Open Carry is effective (as of Jan. 1, 2016).
The Texas Gun Owner's Guide includes an update for all the new LTC material.
TEXAS GUN OWNER'S GUIDE
Updates for 2016
Changes to Edition 8, effective January 1, 2016.
Texas gun laws continue to improve, thanks mainly to the Texas State Rifle Association,
OpenCarryTexas.org and other pro-rights groups. Texas joins 44 other states in introducing
OPEN CARRY of firearms, for licensees only.
Get the Open Carry Update formatted for a single sheet
Updates for 2015
Changes to Edition 8, effective Sep. 1, 2015.
Texas gun laws continue to improve, thanks mainly to the Texas State Rifle Association.
Texas introduces a comitatus law, to control abusive government bureaucrats.
Updates for 2013
Changes that will appear in the upcoming Edition 8.
Some are effective immediately, others take effect 9/1/13 or 1/1/14.
Texas gun laws continue to improve, thanks mainly to the Texas State Rifle Association.
Updates for 2011
Minor changes to the law are here
Updates for 2009
Updates for 2007-2008
Updates from 1997 to 2002 appear below
CHANGES TO EDITION
4 THAT APPEAR IN EDITION 5
ISSUE DATE: March 30, 2002.
BILLS AFFECTING TEXAS GUN LAW IN 2001
Texas gun laws were affected in 2001 by 19 bills (out of 5,514 filed
and 1,600 enacted), during the 77th session. This lead to a net
gain of 1,348 words, or 3.2% growth in Texas gun law, to a total
of 43,390 words. The text and law in The Texas Gun Owner's
Guide (5th Edition, 2002) were updated to reflect the changes.
Each bill can be viewed in its entirety on the Texas state website,
HB 84. Penal Code 46.041. A felon may not possess metal or
body armor. Possession by regular civilians is unaffected.
HB 139. Penal Code 22.021. Sexual abuse is "aggravated"
if the offense includes display or use of deadly weapon.
HB 141. Penal Code 20.03. Kidnapping is a class 2 felony if
serious injury is risked. Penal Code 20.04. Aggravated Kidnapping
includes making a person a slave, abducting someone incompetent
or under 17; change "him" to the politically correct gender-free
term "the person abducted".
HB 171. Penal Code 28.02. An arson offense occurs whether
the fire starts or not; places of habitation or assembly are added.
Penal Code 28.03. Arson and Criminal Mischief penalties are changed
and "explosive weapon" is defined for use in this section.
HB 780. Government Code 411.1999. Description of retired peace
officers who are elligible for CHL is expanded.
HB1118. Family Code 59.003. Delete "or (3)," of
section (a)(2) to adjust penalty applicability.
HB 1362. Penal Code 42.01. An exemption for using a firearm
in defense against a wild animal attack is added to the Disorderly
HB 1600. Penal Code 38.14. Attempting to take a peace officer's
gun is a state jail felony, taking the gun is increased to a class
HB 1837. Local Government Code, 250.001. Shooting range protection.
The definition of a range is expanded to include private clubs and
associations regardless of when they opened, and nuisance complaints
HB 1118. Penal Code 8.07. Change "he" to "the
person" so no one is offended.
HB 1925. Penal Code 46.03. Places where weapons are prohibited
includes within 1,000 feet of a place of execution. Exceptions include
driving on a public road, or while at home or at work. Penal
Code 46.15. Proper authorities are exempted from the firearm ban
within 1,000 feet of execution site.
HB 2098. Penal Code 20.02. False Imprisonment penalty is increased
if the victim is under 17 or a public servant.
HB 2784. Government Code 411.047. DPS is allowed to maintain certain
CHL statistics on its website, the stats allowed are described.
HB 2812. Technical Corrections Bill. Non-substantive fixes,
mostly changing citations, e.g. Texas Bd. of Private Investigators
and Private Security Agencies is now Chap. 1702, Occupations Code.
SB 199. Penal Code 46.04. Unlawful possession of firearms
by felons is amended to add people with a Class A misdemeanor violation
under Penal Code 22.01 (assault) within 5 years of release, and
state employees under specified protective orders, except for police.
Family Code 85.022. A court order can ban firearm possession, except
Family Code 85.026. The gun-ban statement required in certain court
orders is changed to exclude police.
SB 430. Occupational Code 1701.603. Gun safety training in
schools is encouraged, may include NRA Eddie Eagle program and more.
SB 904. Penal Code 37.08. False report to a peace officer
investigating a felony is now a state jail felony, or a class B
misdemeanor if the investigation is for a misdemeanor.
SB 1174. Penal Code 28.03. Criminal mis-chief now includes
penalties for tampering with public communication, public transportation,
public gas or power supply, or other public service.
SB 1368 (1999). Technical Corrections Bill. Changes the old
CHL law designation of 4413(29ee) to Subchapter H, Chapter 411,
Previous announcements indicated the following bill was enacted,
but it was vetoed by the governor and is not law.
SB 1713. Penal Code 46.15. Nonapplicability would be changed so
out-of-state police and certain special investigators in Texas would
be exempt from gun bans on the public, the exact opposite of the
original intent under the Constitution. This proposal was
Copyright 2002 Alan Korwin
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Gun Owner's Guide
TEXAS GUN OWNER'S GUIDE
YEAR 2000 UPDATE
TO EDITION 3 THAT APPEAR IN EDITION 4
ISSUE DATE: January 24, 2000.
The Texas legislature passed 27 bills on Texas gun law
in its 1999 session. These have been included in the new 4th edition
and are described here. Many typographical, pagination, positioning,
grammatical and technical changes have been made and may not be noted.
The page number from the prior book (Edition 3) precedes each entry.
See the latest edition for full details. FFL=Federal Firearms Licensee
(licensed dealers); CHL=Concealed Handgun License or Licensee.
"Approved by the Texas Dept. of Public Safety for
Use In Concealed Handgun License training."
Page 2--Now the 4th edition Copyright 2000 ISBN # 1-889632-01-5
We are on the web at gunlaws.com.
3--Table of Contents updated as needed to match
"people" for "citizens," to increase precision.
16--"The Second Amendment of coursemeans what
it always used to mean, which explains the armed populace we observe
17--A list of the various codes that contain
Texas gun laws is included:
Alcoholic Beverage Code, Business and Commerce Code,
Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Education
Code, Family Code, Government Code, Health and Safety Code, Local
Government Code, Parks and Wildlife Code, Penal Code, Property Code.
19--Replicas of pre-1899 firearms that don't
use rimfire or centerfire ammo are now excluded from the basic firearm
20--A new "right" is introduced under Health
and Safety Code §247.065 for operators of assisted-living facilities
to maintain an environment free of weapons.
21--Certain protective orders must include a
specified statement prohibiting guns and ammo for the person named
in the order, see Family Code §85.026. It is a five-year federal
felony to make false statements on a dealer's Federal Firearm Transaction
form, and it's illegal to knowingly provide a firearm to a prohibited
22--The Juveniles section has been reworked
and expanded. The federal cite requiring kids to carry written permission
when involved with guns, even if they're with you, is 18 USC §922
(x). Under Family Code §54.0406, if a juvenile seeks probabtion
for a gun offense, the child must inform on who provided the firearm.
A child who acted delinquently with a firearm must be detained, see
Family Code §53.02.
25--Since Brady Part 1 expired, the old process
for buying a gun, with local law enforcement doing background checks
has ended. Now, under Brady Part 2, Texas dealers must directly contact
the FBI "NICS" system and get clearance before transferring a gun
to you. Photo ID is required. The FBI can take up to three business
days to respond, after which, if they don't, transfer may take place.
Contrary to clear federal law, the FBI records the name and address
of everyone purchasing a gun at retail in America.
26--You may buy and take possession of long
guns from a licensed dealer in another state, in a face-to-face transaction.
44--States that allow non-residents to obtain
a state carry license now include Arizona and Texas. Firearms taken
on a common carrier must be legal at the destination of your trip.
Though federal law requires written notice to the carrier, as a matter
of practice, verbal notice is frequently accepted.
45--While it is legal to give cutody of firearms
to the operator of a common carrier during a trip, they are not obligated
to accept custody.
46--Special conditions were established to restrict
government entities from suing gun and ammunition manufacturers or
suppliers, in Civil Practices and Remedies Code §128.001.
53--Conditions for buying firearms from dealers
have been updated to reflect changes made by Brady Part 2, described
on p. 25 and 147. The CHL license exempts you from the NICS check.
56--The CHL law, which applicants must certify
they have read and understand, was originally contained in Senate
Bill 60, then Article 4413 (29ee) Revised Statutes, and now has been
moved mostly to Chapter 411, Government Code, with some sections spread
throughout Texas gun law as amendments and additions to existing statutes.
61--A driver's license is acceptable in place
of a birth certificate.
62--Background checks must include county mental
66--CHL renewal applications go to the Austin
69--Reciprocity List: Under the new Texas reciprocity
plan, deals have been cut with four states--Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana
and Oklahoma, making CHL licenses valid there, but only under those
states rules, whatever that might be. From the text: "Be extremely
cautious in these states because they have laws and rules vastly different
than Texas (and no practical method for finding out what they are,
although there is an Arizona guide similar to this Texas edition,
listed in the back).
Instead of a protected right to keep and bear arms,
your rights as an American have been reduced to a short list of government-approved
states for licensees only, under the infringement of reciprocity schemes."
75--DPS issues statistics on CHL Law offenses,
as required by Government Code §411.047.
77--A place that services alcoholic drinks (bring
your own bottle), is included with places that serve alcoholic drinks,
in the prohibitions for CHL carry, and a liquor store (or grocery
store or similar) that sells packaged goods for off-premises consumption
is not. Proper notice includes verbal or written communication, or
80--All references to the CHL law, formerly
Article 4413 (29ee) are now, generally, to Chapter 411, Government
Code. The distinctions about liquor service, described for p. 77,
apply on this page too.
81--Criminal trespass now makes a distinction
for agricultural land as a class C misdemeanor, and Superfund sites
have been added, as class B. The distinctions about liquor service,
described for p. 77, apply on this page too.
101--Article 4413 (29ee) is now, generally,
Chapter 411, Government Code.
127--Include §161.043 in the citation (the
legislature split one law into two parts).
128--Three laws amended in 1999 are included
Disarming a Peace Officer: "It's generally illegal
to take or try to take an officer's weapon."
It is a state jail felony to intentionally or knowingly,
and with force, take or try to take a weapon away from a peace officer,
parole officer, or community supervision and corrections department
officer. However, there is a defense to prosecution if the officer
was using greater force than allowed by law.
See Penal Code §38.14 for the letter of the law.
Criminal Mischief: "It's illegal to use a gun
to cause property damage."
It is a state jail felony to damage or destroy a home
with a firearm or explosive weapon. Many other penalties apply depending
on the amount and nature of the damage. See Penal Code §28.03
Appointing and Arming Deputies: "Appointed deputies
may only be armed as allowed by law."
The Commissioners Court of a county may authorize the
sheriff to appoint reserve deputy sheriffs. The sheriff may authorize
all reserve deputies to carry firearms when on official duty, and
in the case of a reserve deputy who is already a peace officer as
defined by law, may authorize carry when not on duty. Similar conditions
apply to reserve deputy constables and reserve police officers, as
defined in Local Government Code §85.004.
145--The list of federal gun laws now includes
the Omnibus Consolidated & Emergency Supplemental Appropriations
Act, 1999 (numerous requirements detailed later).
147--The Brady Law Part 1 (the handgun
part) has expired and Brady Part 2 (all retail guns and national background
check and registration) has begun. From the text:
Enacted in 1993 as the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention
Act, the Brady law in reality turned out to be five things:
1--Centralized federal control over all handgun
and long gun retail sales;
2--A $200 million funding mechanism for a national
computer system capable of checking out any individual from a single
3--The development of a national ID card requirement
(based on drivers' licenses and social security numbers) for all original
4--The most thorough commerce tracking system
on earth, initially only for retail sales of firearms in America;
5--A mechanism for preventing known criminals
from directly purchasing firearms at retail and paying sales tax.
The widely publicized five-day waiting period was largely
a myth, and never existed in most states (in Texas the "wait" ranged
from zero to nine days as a local check was conducted). The effect
of the Brady law on crime reduction is essentially unknown, since
the 400,000 criminals reportedly identified by the system (the number
is hotly disputed) are on the loose--virtually no effort to track
or apprehend them has been made. It is a five-year federal felony
for criminals and other disqualified persons to attempt to purchase
Part 1 of the law, the handgun part, set to expire
60 months after enactment, is described in small type (it expired
Nov. 30, 1998). Brady Part 2, the National Instant Background Check
(dubbed NICS by the FBI, who has replaced BATF to operate the system),
controls rifles, shotguns and handguns, and is described as it appears
in the federal statute. Complex regulations to implement the new law,
which are basically transparent in this state, are not covered (available
in their entirety on the FBI and BATF Internet sites).
The FBI's use of the Brady NICS computer system to
record the name and address of every retail gun buyer in America,
in apparent violation of long-standing law (strictly forbidden in
both the McClure Volkmer Act, 1986, and the Brady law itself), has
prompted outcries from the public and Congress, but continues unabated.
In addition, the Justice Dept. seeks to levy a tax on the sale of
firearms, and give the funds to the FBI, with no apparent authority
to do so (taxes are supposed to originate in Congress). States agreeing
to cooperate with the FBI (Texas has not), might avoid the dealer
tax if one is implemented.
For updates and detailed analysis of the complex Brady
machinations, check our website, gunlaws.com.
[Small-type version of Brady part
1 is not included here, same as version in prior editions of TGOG.]
The Brady Law Part 2--National Instant Check:
The Brady Law requires the U.S. Attorney General (AG) to establish
a National Instant Criminal Background Check system (NICS) before
Nov. 30, 1998 (which they did). With NICS now in effect, the previous
process (above, in small type) is eliminated. In order to transfer
any firearm, not just handguns, with the NICS system in place, a dealer
must verify your identity from a government-issued photo-ID card,
contact the system (based in Clarksburg, W. Va., run by the FBI),
identify you and either: 1--get a unique transfer number back from
the system, or 2--wait three days during which state offices are open
and during which the system provides no notice that the transfer would
violate relevant laws.
Some states have been designated "Point of Contact"
states by the FBI. This means dealers there contact the State Police
for all gun sales. The State Police include a check of the FBI's NICS
system, and the process is transparent to the customers. In Texas,
as in most states, the dealer must contact the FBI directly, which
conducts both the federal and state checks.
The NICS system is required to issue the transfer number
if the transfer would violate no relevant laws, and it is supposed
to destroy all records of approved inquiries except for the identifying
number and the date it was issued. The FBI, however, has indicated
they are recording the name and address of everyone who buys a gun
now that the system is running, and Congress has been unable to stop
them so far. If the transfer is approved, the dealer includes the
transfer number in the record of the transaction (on a redesigned
version of the 4473 form). The NICS system is bypassed under conditions
similar to 2, 4 and 5 listed above (in small type) as exceptions to
the Brady process (with number 2 broadened to include "firearms" permit).
A licensed dealer who violates these requirements is
subject to a civil fine of up to $5,000 and suspension or revocation
of their license, but, according to the statute, only if the system
is operating and would have shown that the customer would have been
ineligible to make a purchase. Dealers, fearing federal reprisals
against their licenses and livelihoods, have generally been unwilling
to do business when NICS is down, which has occurred constantly through
technical glitches and from planned "maintenance periods" during regular
Essentially, as of late 1998, federal forces have gained
control of all retail gun sales in America. The only sales not controlled
by federal agents are lawful private transfers among the people. This
basic American freedom is now being attacked as a "loophole," ironically,
by officials we elect who take an oath to preserve, protect and defend
If you are denied a firearm under NICS, the law says
you may request the reason directly from NICS and it must present
you with a written answer within five business days. You may also
request the reason from the AG, who must respond "immediately," according
to the law. You may provide information to fix any errors in the system,
and the AG must immediately consider the information, investigate
further, correct any erroneous federal records and notify any federal
or state agency that supplied the errors.
151--Purchase and possession of firearms by
people under domestic violence restraining orders is prohibited (although
this is now the subject of a court dispute, whether a routine procedural
order can abrogate civil rights, in Emerson v. U.S., 5th federal circuit).
158--Omnibus Consolidated & Emergency
Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999.
This 4,000-page budget bill was secretly drafted in
committee, rushed to the floor of Congress, voted on two days later,
and enacted in October 1998 without any of your representatives actually
reading it. It increased federal gun law by almost 6%, with provisions
for NICS funding, gun-law enforcement funding, gun safety devices
sold at retail, public gun safety training funding, restrictions on
aliens, NICS record-keeping and taxing prohibitions, shotguns and
certain antiques redefined, undetectable gun law reenactment, relief
for importers, a pawn shop NICS glitch fix, the Arms Control and Disarmament
Agency disbanded with duties moved to the State Dept., and a special
ban on using the U.S. global arms control and disarmament agenda against
the public. Complete federal update is posted on our website.
161--Chart of "Growth in Federal Gun Law" has
been updated through 1999.
193--Intoxication is now 0.08 alcohol concentration,
tolerance for truckers is zero.
197--Added a few offenses to the list in the
punishment chart, where space permitted.
202--A list of bills that changed gun laws in
1999 is included:
HB 436 Trespass on agricultural land HB 525 U. S. Forest
Service authority HB 592 Instructor background checks HB 635 Taking
weapon from peace officer HB 668 Street gangs HB 690 Criminal mischief
penalties HB 957 Conditions for arming deputies HB 998 Burglary includes
assault HB 1265 Carry on Superfund site penalty HB 1269 Detention
of armed delinquents HB 1428 "Restrain" redefined HB 1933 CHL mental
check and fees HB 2231 Rail-car burglary definitions HB 2825 Antique,
curio, relic and black powder arms HB 2869 Probation conditions for
kids with guns HB 3517 Sanction levels for armed juveniles SB 24 Repetitious
assault on family SB 43 Reporting gunshot wounds SB 50 Protective
order gun and ammo notification SB 93 Gun-free assisted living facilities
SB 131 Hospital 51 sign exemption SB 152 Escape by juveniles SB 370
DPS statistics on CHL SB 404 Peace officer CHL after retirement SB
717 Conditions for government lawsuits against gun companies SB 1368
Technical corrections and overhaul of Chapter 411 (CHL law) SB 1558
Criminal trespass includes aircraft HCR 57 Children's Firearm Safety
203--Replace paragraph: 3--The Right to Carry
law, enacted in 1995 as Senate Bill 60, which created the concealed-handgun
license. This was codified initially as Texas Civil Statute 4413(29ee),
and as changes to a number of other existing statutes. It has been
amended several times, and is now basically codified under Government
Code Chapter 411. The laws in Appendix D are effective as of 9/1/99.
205--All statutes have been updated to reflect
the 1999 session. There were lots of changes all over the place. The
government expects to have this work done and online in about 6 months
262--Senate Bill 60 is now, basically, Government
Code chapter 411, and other sections of the law.
282--The back matter has been refreshed. We
now carry gun-law guides for eight states, plus federal, 50-state
travel and CCW guides, and we're on the lookout for any others you
may know about! Call us.
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Copyright 2000 Alan Korwin All rights
reserved. BLOOMFIELD PRESS "We publish the gun laws." 4848 E. Cactus, #505-440 Scottsdale, AZ 85254 602-996-4020 Fax 602-494-0679 1-800-707-4020 http://www.gunlaws.com
Permission to circulate this update
for non-commercial purposes is granted.
TEXAS GUN OWNER'S GUIDE UPDATE
NEW FEDERAL GUN TAX FOR TEXANS?
FBI MAY LEVY TAX
BY END OF YEAR
States Affected $13-$16 Applies to
Retail Gun Sales
(Nov. 1998) Under the general banner of crime reduction, and citing the Brady
law for its authority, the FBI plans to tax the retail sale of handguns
and long guns, starting Nov. 30, 1998, if their new computer systems
are ready in time. The proposed tax could generate $1 million per
week nationally, based on the bureau's estimates. Detailed information
is included in a report just issued by Phoenix-based Bloomfield
Press, a book publisher specializing in gun law [Ed:
Summary of Findings on request].
Perhaps more significant than a surprising new tax from the Justice Department--without any apparent Congressional approval--is the FBI's announced plans to record complete identifying information on every person who purchases a firearm from a licensed dealer. Any regulation that requires such recording has been prohibited under the McClure-Volkmer Act since 1986. Neither the tax nor the gun-buyer registration scheme appear to be legal, according to Alan Korwin, best-selling author of The Texas Gun Owner's Guide. Korwin has written six books on gun law, and his Texas guide is officially approved by Texas DPS for concealed handgun license training.
The federal registration and tax plan are being rolled out under the guise of the National Instant Check System, required when Part 1 of the Brady law expires this year. Under Brady Part 2, all retail handgun and long gun sales will have to run through the system, which the FBI has based at its Clarksburg, W. Va., data center. They are hiring 500 people to handle the anticipated load.
The FBI intends to waive the tax for any state that sets up an
FBI-approved central firearms clearance center, as 20 have already
done. In other states, such as Texas, each dealer will have to "enroll"
with the FBI to legally make a sale, and pay the tax on every purchase.
The Bureau will accept credit cards or will arrange to bill dealers,
and those who don't pay (or are real late on the invoice) will be
literally out of business. Several authorities have indicated that
they expect enough clamor from the taxed dealers to compel their
states to comply. When 100 Arizona dealers were told at a government
meeting earlier this month, that they would not be taxed, they cheered.
NOTE: The FBI and their taxing scheme described above were defeated
DPS Approves Gun-Law Book
edition reflects 7% growth in state gun laws
The book Texans use for the rules on bearing arms has been officially approved by the Texas Dept. of Public Safety for use in concealed handgun license training. Widely used by DPS officers, instructors and gun owners since its release in 1995, The Texas Gun Owner's Guide includes all Texas gun laws (not just the Penal Code sections given to licensees), and most importantly, describes all the rules in plain English. The approval is seen by the book's publisher as a step toward ensuring Texans' rights and responsibilities. Despite controversies surrounding firearms, half of all homes contain at least one firearm, according to the FBI.
· It doesn't make sense to own a gun and not know the rules,-- said co-author Alan Korwin in a recent interview.
· These days, the legal risk to you in case of a criminal attack is so great that you simply must have a grasp of the laws.-- This may not be just, but it's true, he said.
Texas gun laws are tough on criminals, regulate the police and protect honest people, according to Korwin. But Justice Dept. statistics show that only one reported crime in four ever leads to an arrest, prompting him to make this plea:
· Please, start using the laws we have before enacting any more. Every criminal act imaginable has already been outlawed.-- The Texas Gun Owner's Guide, in an arena that anti-rights activists decry as unregulated, is now 288 pages, reflecting a 7% growth in state gun laws last year, to 41,360 words. To fire up a copy of the $14.95 paperback [free to media reviewers] call 1-800-707-4020 or visit bloomfieldpress.com.
CHANGES TO EDITION 2 THAT APPEAR IN EDITION 3
ISSUE DATE: January 26, 1998. The Texas legislature
made many changes to Texas gun law in its 1997 session. These have
been included in the new 3rd edition and are described here. Many
typographical, pagination, positioning, grammatical and technical changes
have been made and may not be noted. The page number from the prior edition
(2) precedes each entry. Because the book grew by 32 pages, some
of the changes are
only summarized here. See the latest edition for full details.
FFL=Federal Firearms Licensee (licensed dealers); CHL=Concealed Handgun
License or Licensee.
BY THE TEXAS DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY
FOR USE IN CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSE TRAINING."
2 - Officially DPS approved (see above); Copyright
1998; change print code line (backwards series of numbers at page bottom
that identifies the edition number) to "3," include fax and
website, new ISBN 1-889632-03-1.
3 - Table of Contents reflects changes and 32 new pages.
15 - The word citizens has been changed to people in many places
in the text for precision.
21 - Federal prohibited possessor list now includes people convicted
of misdemeanor domestic violence.
22 - It's important to note that new federal law requires your
minor children to carry a written note from you when they go shooting
or handle guns, even if you are accompanying them.
24 - Federal definition of dealer has been added. The material
about obtaining guns in- and out-of-state has been reorganized and fine-tuned
for precision, and to reflect result of the Supreme Court Brady Law decision
(which was nil in Texas, though record-checking fees now charged by many
departments are not required by any law).
27 - One of the greatest changes in 1997 is the re-write of Penal
Code §46.02 and §46.15, the main laws controlling handgun carry.
§46.02 shrinks to just a few lines, prohibiting the carry of a handgun.
All the exceptions to the prohibition are now in §46.15, which says
§46.02 "does not apply" if you're in one of the protected
groups or circumstances. The abusive affirmative defense standard,
which lead to countless unnecessary arrests of law-abiding people has
36 - Only long guns may be shipped through the Post Office, under
one of the oldest federal laws on the books (1927). (The oldest federal
law still on the books is a hunting restriction for Yellowstone National
Park, from 1894; the oldest federal gun laws, from the late 1700s, actually
required gun possession.) Any handgun obtained (not just purchased)
outside Texas must be shipped from and to an FFL, you can't bring it in
across state lines on your own; only a long gun, bought face-to-face from
a dealer, can be brought back directly. A new section clarifying
Interstate Travel has been added.
37 - Reciprocity Laws in General: A national movement is
afoot to ease the stranglehold that state laws have placed on law-abiding
travelers. Introduced at state and federal levels, reciprocity laws
seek to guarantee that people who may legally carry in their home states
cannot be held in violation when in another state. It seems that
the Second Amendment is providing no protection for travelers, and a legislative
solution is being sought. Your home state's rules would not apply
when you go "abroad." You would be subject to the laws,
regulations and customs of the state you are in at the time.
Most proposals seek to obtain this relief only for individuals with government-issued
permits. Supporters typically cite Article IV of the Constitution,
known as the full faith and credit clause, which says in pertinent part,
"Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public
Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other state;".
This sets a model similar to marriage and driver licenses.
Other attempts seek to allow any person who is not acting criminally to
be free from harassment or arrest for simple possession of a legally owned
firearm, independent of the state involved. This would emulate the
way people are basically free to speak their minds regardless of their
location (and no license to exercise the First Amendment is available
at this time, except that broadcasts are forbidden without a government
Some states take the approach that, if your permit is similar to ours,
and your state formally honors ours, then we will honor yours. A
method is then set up to determine if the two states' requirements are
a rough match. Such comparisons are problematic because they once
again subject your rights to bureaucratic review, as in the days before
"shall issue" permits, and indeed, states have already experienced
difficulty in agreeing if their "standards" are a match.
When the officials decide there is no match, they remove the right to
carry between those states. To link all 50 states to each other
and thus restore rights to properly government-licensed individuals would
require 1,225 pacts (49 + 48 + 47... etc.).
Each state's requirements are of course different. Studying the
laws of your home state (a common requirement) hardly prepares you and
is certainly not a match for the laws in any other state. Florida
requires no shooting test for its permit, Virginia asks for proof of demonstrated
competence with a gun but does not define it further, Texas requires 50
shots at three distances with all shots timed, Arizona requires seven
hits out of ten, and so it goes, state to state.
Some states are considering honoring anyone who has a state-issued permit.
Some will issue a permit to anyone qualified, resident or not, getting
around the problem in yet another way. A handful of states have
no permit system, presumably leaving them out of the picture when their
residents are on the road, or for you when you visit. A few have
introduced laws that would allow you to drive through their states on
a "continuous journey," or to enter the state but only for a
competition or designated event.
A federal bill seeks to require all states to honor the permits of all
other states. Residents in Vermont are excluded because they need
no permit to carry in the first place. The 98% of Americans who
bear arms but have refused to sign up for a government carry-rights permit
are also left out of these plans.
Rumors are swirling about which state has adopted what policy, and relying
on a rumor where no rule exists can get you arrested. Viewing the
printed statute yourself is a good way to help avoid rumors. Laws
may offer less protection when new, before street police policy is set
and well known throughout the law enforcement community.
It would be nice if there was a rock-solid reliable place to call to find
out exactly where reciprocity exists, but there is none at the present
time. Besides, a complete answer with precisely all the do's and
don'ts is more than you can possibly get over the phone. The job
of telling you is not the role of the police, the sheriff, the DA, the
AG, the library or anyone else.
One solution that addresses these problems is the proposed American
Historical Rights Protection Act. This basically says that if
a person has a gun, the person isn't a criminal, and the gun isn't illegal,
then that is not a crime, based on the 14th Amendment. For a copy
of this draft statute contact Bloomfield Press or visit our website.
Four states currently have some form of recognition for out-of-state permit
holders--check with them for details: Idaho, Indiana, Michigan and Wyoming.
These states have passed laws that would allow some bureau within the
state (indicated in parenthesis) to cut deals with a bureau in another
state, or they have set up other conditions that might lead them to recognize
each other's permits--check with them for details: Arkansas (State Police),
Connecticut (Commissioner of State Police), Georgia (County Probate Judge),
Kentucky (Sheriff), Louisiana (Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Services),
Massachusetts (Chief of Police), Mississippi (Dept. of Public Safety),
Missouri (residents currently prohibited from concealed carry), Montana
(Governor), New Hampshire (Chief of Police), North Dakota (Chief of the
Bureau of Criminal Investigation), Oklahoma (State Bureau of Investigation),
Pennsylvania (Attorney General), Rhode Island (Attorney General), South
Carolina (Law Enforcement Division), Texas (Dept. of Public Safety), Utah
(Dept. of Public Safety), Virginia (Circuit Court), West Virginia (Sheriff).
The different authorities named in this list are a measure of the consistency
of the laws from state to state.
Some states will issue firearms permits to non-residents if you qualify--check
with them for details: Florida, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, New Jersey, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
If, after reading these lists, you sense that reciprocity schemes don't
solve the problem and unshackle honest citizens, well, you're not alone.
The Texas Version of Reciprocity is described in Chapter 2 (See note for
38 - It's legal for a pilot, captain, conductor or operator of
a common or contract carrier to take custody of your weapon for the duration
of a trip, but they're not required to do so.
41 - The Lost National Right to Carry has been expanded, and melded
into the sections on Transport and Interstate Travel.
47 - The Brady paperwork form is required for handgun purchase
from a dealer, a CHL exempts you from the process, dealers must submit
forms but law enforcement is not required to conduct background checks,
and no law empowers police to charge you for background checks.
49 - Delete affirmative defense since this requirement has been
removed from the law. Change unlicensed citizen to unlicensed people.
50 - Change resident to person. Failure to show your CHL on request,
if you are armed, makes you subject to a 90-day suspension, or a class
B misdemeanor for a second offense.
51 - License suspension for arrest or indictment lasts until the
matter is resolved. DPS has determined that a written exam may not be
substituted for classroom instruction for a CHL.
52 - Certain non-residents may now apply for a CHL. A felony conviction
does not prohibit you from a CHL if the conviction was expunged or properly
The definition of unsound mind has been refined by law, involving specific
medical or psychological conditions. Qualification now refers to ability
to exercise sound judgment for proper use and storage of a firearm. The
Texas Medical Advisory Board must cooperate in making determinations if
requested by authorities.
54 - Fingerprints may now be taken by a properly authorized private
party (formerly DPS only).
55 - The CHL application and denial time frames, and notification
requirements, have been altered, changing certain time periods and lengthening
the outside limits to 210 days maximum for a worst-case-scenario denial.
This was a complex change that required hours of deciphering and two pages
of text to explain clearly (though once explained it's not really that
bad). This change continues through page 57.
56 - Texas residency no longer applies to qualified non-residents
who seek a license. If your instructor disapproves your license,
DPS must make sure the denial was made for good reason and in good faith.
58 - CHL renewal process has been established; basically, it's
a 4-hour class (instructors set the price), another marksmanship test
(same course of fire), two color photos, forms, and a $70 fee ($35 for
seniors and indigent). DPS to send you a renewal form, new license
is good for four years.
Texas gun law grew by 2,661 words in the 75th (1997) legislature, to 41,360 words, a 7% increase.
59 - License suspension: For a first offense, your license may be suspended: 1 - Until charges are dismissed if you are charged with a class A or B misdemeanor; 2 - Until charges are dismissed if you are charged with disorderly conduct under §42.01; 3 - Until charges are dismissed if you are charged with a felony under an information or indictment; 4 - For 90 days if you fail to show your license to authorities when required to do so; 5 - For 30 days if you fail to notify DPS within 30 days of a change of name or address, or of a lost, stolen or destroyed license; 6 - For 30 days if you carry a firearm that doesn't match your license category (the revolver and semi-auto distinction); 7 - For 30 days if you don't return an old license after a modified one is issued. The suspension for a second offense may last from one to three years, and a third offense (for the same violation) is grounds for revocation.
61 - Texas Reciprocity Law and Non-Resident Licenses. The misleading nature of so-called reciprocity laws is discussed (see p. 37). The first Texas reciprocity law, enacted as part of the Right-to-Carry law in 1995, never lead to any reciprocity. This was replaced with a new version, enacted in 1997. Under the current version, non-Texans who come from a state where no concealed-carry law exists, may qualify for a Texas CHL if they meet all the requirements except for Texas residency. DPS is required to set up a procedure for accomplishing this, and charging a fee to cover costs. Contact them directly for details. The department is also required to negotiate agreements with states that have their own concealed-carry license procedure, to recognize those licenses if: 1 - The other state's background check requirements for a license meet or exceed the federal requirement to receive a handgun; and 2 - The other state recognizes a Texas license. DPS is required to get this started by Dec. 1, 1997.
63 - Minimum handgun caliber for CHL marksmanship test is now .32.
65 - An instructor CHL (on top of the instructor certification fee) now costs $100. Instructor certification renewal is $100 and requires an 8-hour course.
66 - Minimum handgun caliber for CHL marksmanship test is now .32.
68 - Retired and active peace officers may obtain a CHL.
69 - 73 Prohibited Places List (and Bars) saw numerous technical changes because of massive restructuring of the statutes (see notes for pg. 27, above), and many substantial changes because of trespass and posted sign requirements. Also note that §46.03 prohibits bringing or having a firearm in its specified prohibited places, and racetrack probably includes any paid parking on site. Certain places are only prohibited to CHLs if properly posted (amusement parks, places of worship, government meeting places, hospitals, nursing homes), and private places open to the public (to prohibit CHLs under new trespass law).
Private Property and Trespass: Added in 1997, Penal Code §30.06 establishes special trespass offenses and sign requirements to legally exclude concealed-handgun-license holders. It is illegal for a CHL holder to carry a handgun, without effective consent, if the person receives notice that:
A - Entry on the property by a CHL, who is carrying a concealed handgun, is forbidden; or
B - You are notified that staying on the premises with a concealed handgun is forbidden and you do not leave.
Property owners have explicit rights and control the terms by which others may enter their property. Access to a private residence is legally under near-total control of the resident, with no need for posting signs or other regulations. Places open to the public may not discriminate and are generally subject to the sign requirements.
No-Guns-Allowed Signs: Four new laws define what a no-gun sign must look like, and how to give 'proper notice' that guns are prohibited at a public place.
A - For the purpose of the CHL trespassing law (§30.06 described above) and for the CHL restrictions in §46.035, you have "received notice" when the owner (or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner) gives you notice either orally or in writing. If it's in writing it may be handed to you, or prominently posted in English and Spanish on the property, in contrasting-color block letters at least one inch high, with this precise message: "Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Article 4413(29ee), Revised Statutes (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun". Any place open to the public could post such a 'thirty-ought-six' sign to restrict CHLs. If a hospital, nursing home, amusement park, place of worship or government meeting does not post such a sign (or give written or oral notice), then properly licensed CHLs are not prohibited from entering.
B - A business with a liquor license or permit, which gets 51% or more of its income from the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises, must conspicuously post a sign at each entrance, in English and Spanish, that it is unlawful for a CHL to carry a handgun on the premises. The sign must be in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch high, with the number "51" in solid red at least five inches high. (see Art. 4413(29ee) Sec. 31).
C - Any place with a liquor license or permit that doesn't have to post a "51" sign (in other words, they get less than 51% of their income from drink sales) must post a sign that says it is unlawful to carry a weapon on the premises unless you have a valid CHL permit. The basic idea here is to make bars off limits to everyone, but to allow CHLs to enjoy a restaurant even if it serves alcohol (and it's illegal for a CHL to get drunk while armed). The sign must be at least six inches high and 14 inches wide, in contrasting colors, and conspicuously displayed. The liquor authorities can require a language in addition to English if they deem it necessary. (see Alcoholic Beverage Code §11.041 and §61.11).
To summarize, there are three possible signs: 1 - The
thirty-ought-six sign to exclude CHLs based on trespass law, 2 - The
big red "51" sign that prohibits all guns in bars, and 3 -
The "CHLs welcomed here" sign that allows CHLs into places
that serve alcohol but get less than 51% of their revenue from drinks.
73 - Federal Facilities has a cross-reference to the reenacted
Gun-Free School Zones law in chapter 7. Despite its clear wording, it's
not clear if other lawful purpose would allow a CHL (or any other lawful
possession) in a federal facility.
80 - Destructive device does not include regular shotguns with
bore over 1/2-inch. Weapons and accessories affected by the Public Safety
and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act (1994, often and inaccurately
called the Crime Bill) have been dubbed assault weapons by the media.
91 - Special conditions for posting various places have been
introduced, described above at pg. 69. Four laws now affect this: 30.06
(Penal), 4413 (29ee) (CHL), 11.041 and 61.11 (Alcohol). Text on
public and common nuisance offenses have been combined.
99 - Private firearms are prohibited at military installations
by practice, not statute.
100 - Substantial change to the federal Civilian Marksmanship
Program is summarized and cross-referenced to chapter 7.
101 - Travel exemption is now in Penal Code §46.15 (was
108 - The important plain-English expression shoot to kill has
been explained in greater detail. Some readers apparently would
prefer the phrase didn't exist, and DPS always teaches shoot to stop,
control or neutralize; the legal intent is to protect, not to kill,
when using lethal force, a paradoxical point which can be discussed
at great length. Shooting at another human being is a last resort, best
reserved for only if and when innocent life truly depends on it. If
it doesn't, don't shoot. If it does, don't miss.
111 - Self-defense justification includes defense of life or
defense against serious bodily injury. For clarity, in the last
item on the page, change go to to seek and bring along to have.
114 - For clarity, at the end of the third paragraph from the
bottom, change serious to substantial and insert serious before bodily.
117 - Move Common Nuisance to pg. 91. Add new sections
on Warning Shots (typically a very bad idea, not justified by law),
Bullet Proof Vests (legal to own and wear), and Keeping Control of Your
Firearm (discussing the risk of civil liability for letting someone
get your gun without your OK).
129 - Several federal attempts to register guns and gun owners
nationwide have been made despite laws forbidding this; the FBI stores
fingerprints from all background checks until you are 99 years old.
131 - Three new federal gun laws: Promotion of Rifle Practice
and Firearms Safety Act (1996), Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act (1996), Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 1997, (Domestic
Violence Gun Ban, Gun-Free School Zones). New chart shows growth
of federal gun law since 1791.
133 - U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal mandate requiring
local law enforcement to conduct Brady background checks (many are doing
checks voluntarily, which could let handgun purchasers get their merchandise
early if the check is completed before the maximum time (as much as
nine days), which buyers would otherwise have to wait out. No authorization
exists under federal or state law to charge you for the voluntary checks.
134 - Texas CHL exempts you from the Brady paperwork and delays.
135 - If and when the Justice Dept. gets the National Instant
Criminal Background Check system up (as early as Nov. 30, 1998, though
indications are it is way behind schedule) the Brady system will include
long guns (takes effect 30 days after the U.S. Attorney General tells
all FFLs that the national system is in place). The previous waiting
process would be eliminated.
136 - Delete the notes about BATF refusal to recognize Texas
CHL as an exemption from the Brady law.
138 - Detailed plain-English descriptions of the new federal
gun laws (named on pg. 131, above) fills seven pages. There has
been no known enforcement of the terrorism or school zones law (the
hubbub over their passage belied any actual effect of these laws), but
the gun ban for misdemeanor domestic violence offenses has created havoc
in criminalizing (and disarming) many people in law enforcement, the
military, private individuals, and for its eight apparent gross constitutional
violations (described in detail in the new 3rd edition).
161 - The description of shoot to wound has been expanded;
165 - The discussion of the noble use of firearms
has been expanded;
175 - Failure to show CHL is now a misdemeanor on 2nd offense.
179 - Some phone numbers for DPS have been changed. New CHL hotlines:
181 - Appendix D (the statutes) has been completely updated and
revised to include new legislation for 1997.
Back Matter revised, we now have The Traveler's Guide to the Gun Laws
of the 50 States ($9.95 +S&H) and coming soon: Supreme Court
Gun Cases with analysis by David Kopel and Stephen Halbrook.
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