New laws for Concealed Handgun License (CHL) program
Summary of new laws passed in the 84th Regular Legislative Session that impact Concealed Handgun Licensing.
House Bill 910 Effective: January 1, 2016
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun; creating criminal offense.
- 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. (See “Exceptions” below for more information.)
- Unconcealed handguns, loaded or unloaded, must be carried in a shoulder or belt holster.
- Individuals who hold a valid CHL may continue to carry with valid existing license.
- A separate license will not be required to open carry. No additional fee will be required.
- Individuals currently licensed will not be required to attend additional training. Training curriculum for new applicants will be updated to reflect the new training requirements related to the use of restraint holsters and methods to ensure the secure carrying of openly carried handguns. The new curriculum will be required for all classes beginning January 1, 2016.
- The eligibility criteria to obtain a license to carry do not change.
- The department will be updating website, forms and training materials to reference License to Carry (LTC) instead of Concealed Handgun License (CHL).
- Changes to the laminated license are being developed and will be implemented at a later date.
- Private businesses may post signs to indicate entry on the property with a handgun by a license holder is forbidden.
- Penal Code Section 30.06 provides the language to be included on signs to indicate license holders are forbidden to carry concealed.
- Penal Code Section 30.07 provides the language to be included on signs to indicate license holders are forbidden to open carry.
- Posting of both signs is an indication by the business that license holders are forbidden to carry concealed or openly.
- Open carry is not permitted by a license holder regardless of whether the handgun is holstered:
- 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
- by an individual who is acting as a personal protection officer under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code and is not wearing a uniform
Senate Bill 11 Effective: August 1, 2016
Caption: Relating to the carrying of handguns on the campuses of and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education; providing a criminal penalty.
- Authorizes a license holder to carry a concealed handgun on or about the license holder’s person while the license holder is on the campus of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state. Open carrying of handguns is still prohibited at these locations.
- Authorizes an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state to establish rules, regulation, or other provisions concerning the storage of handguns in dormitories or other residential facilities that are owned or leased and operated by the institution and located on the campus of the institution.
- Requires the president or other chief executive officer of an institution of higher education in this state to establish reasonable rules, regulations, or other provisions regarding the carrying of concealed handguns by license holders on the campus or on specific premises located on the campus.
- Authorizes posting of a sign under Penal Code Section 30.06 with respect to any portion of a premises on which license holders may not carry.
- The effective date of this law for a public junior college is August 1, 2017
Various Other Changes
House Bill 554 Effective: September 1, 2015
Caption: Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a weapon in or into the secured area of an airport.
- Amends the Penal Code to add a defense to prosecution if the actor possessed a handgun that he or she is licensed to carry at the security checkpoint of an airport, and exited the screening checkpoint for the secured area immediately upon completion of the required screening process and notification of possession of the handgun.
- Adds the actor cannot be arrested for the sole offense of possessing a handgun that he or she is licensed to carry, unless a police officer gives the actor the opportunity to leave the area and he or she does not immediately comply.
House Bill 1376 Effective; September 1, 2015
Caption: Relating to the application of certain concealed handgun license laws to community supervision and corrections department officers and juvenile probation officers; reducing a fee.
- Allows supervision officers and juvenile probation officers to establish proof of proficiency by a sworn statement that indicates the person demonstrated proficiency with a firearm instructor licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement within the 12 month period preceding the application for the license to carry.
- This provision applies to supervision officers appointed or employed under Section 76.004, Government Code, to supervise defendants placed on community supervision.
- Reduces the fee for a license to carry to $25 for these individuals.
- Individuals applying under this special condition will be required to provide proof they are a supervision officer or juvenile probation officer.
- A new fee schedule will be posted on the department’s website.
House Bill 2604 Effective: September 1, 2015
Caption: Relating to a concealed handgun license application that is submitted by a peace officer or a member of the state military forces.
- Exempts applicants who are active peace officers from the requirement to submit fingerprints.
- Repeals the provisions requiring a sworn statement from the head of the employing law enforcement agency regarding the applicant’s conduct and proficiency.
- Regulatory Services Division (RSD) is in the process of updating the online application checklist. Until the online application is updated, peace officers may disregard the notations requiring fingerprints and the sworn statement from the head of their employing law enforcement agency.
- Updated application instructions for peace officers will be posted on the department’s website upon the effective date of this law.
House Bill 2739 Effective: September 1, 2015
Caption: Relating to the use of a concealed handgun license as valid proof of personal identification.
- Amends the Business and Commerce Code to require businesses to accept a concealed handgun license (CHL) as a valid form of personal identification for access to goods, services, or facilities.
- Does not affect laws requiring a driver license to operate a motor vehicle.
- Does not effect the existing requirement to present a driver license when renting a car.
- Does not affect the type of identification required under federal law to access airport premises or to pass through airport security.
House Bill 3710 Effective: September 1, 2015
Caption: Relating to a voluntary contribution to the fund for veterans’ assistance when applying for a concealed handgun license.
- Requires DPS to offer CHL applicants an opportunity to contribute money to the fund for veterans’ assistance when applying for an original or renewal CHL license.
- The applicant will determine the amount of contribution.
- RSD is in the process of updating the online application to accept contributions. More information will be posted here when the option to contribute is available.
House Bill 3747 Effective: June 16, 2015
Caption: Relating to the issuance of a concealed handgun license to certain retired judicial officers.
- Authorizes retired federal judges to receive a discounted CHL in the same manner as a retired state judge.
- The reduced fee is $25. A new fee schedule will be posted on the department’s website.
Senate Bill 273 Effective September 1, 2015
Caption: Relating to certain offenses relating to carrying concealed handguns on property owned or leased by a governmental entity; providing a civil penalty.
- Prohibits a state agency or political subdivision from posting signs stating where CHL holders are prohibited from carrying a concealed handgun on the premises, unless specifically prohibited by Texas Penal Code 46.03 and 46.035.
- Provides a civil penalty to a state agency or political subdivision if falsely notifying a CHL holder that entering or remaining on certain governmental premises, leased or owned, is illegal.
- Limits the scope of the governmental meeting prohibition by restricting it to the specific room or rooms in which the meeting is being held, and to public meetings for which notice is required under the Open Meetings Act.
- Provides an opportunity for the agency or subdivision to cure the violation within three business days of receipt of written notice from a citizen.
- Complaints of a violation are reported to the Attorney General Office.
- Provides the Attorney General must give notice to the agency or subdivision and provide an opportunity to cure the violation before a civil penalty is imposed.