What Citizens Need to Know about Open Carry

By Cpl. Bryan Proctor, Cleburne Police Department, Cleburne, Texas

The Texas Concealed Handgun Law passed in 1996. As of December 31, 2014 there were 825,957 active license holders in Texas.

Prior to January 1, 2016, all license holders were Concealed Handgun License Holders (CHL), meaning handguns must be carried in a concealed manner. After December 31, 2015 the Concealed Handgun License is changing to the License to Carry (LTC), meaning license holders may carry concealed or unconcealed (Open Carry). If a licensee is openly carrying a handgun, the handgun MUST be secured in a belt or shoulder holster.

Effective January 1, 2016, the Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46 will be amended. HB 910, passed by the 84th Texas Legislature, will allow persons licensed to carry a handgun, under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Texas Government Code, to openly carry a handgun in the same places that allow the licensed carrying of a concealed handgun with some exceptions, provided the handgun is carried in a shoulder or belt holster. That means that Texas license holders can carry openly or concealed in any place not expressly prohibited by law. License holders may be subject to criminal charges for carrying a handgun in plain view unless carried in a shoulder or belt holster.

Examples of belt and shoulder holsters

Generally, What Places Can a License Holder NOT Carry a Handgun?

  • The physical premises of a school or educational institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted. Includes school bus, or school passenger transportation.
  • The premises of a government court or court offices utilized by the court.
  • A secured area of an airport
  • Open Carry Only – Anywhere there is a 30.07 sign posted
  • Concealed Carry Only – Anywhere there is a 30.06 sign posted

30.06 Sign

A 30.06 sign prohibits concealed carry by a license holder onto the premises of an establishment posting the sign. The sign must meet the following standards:


  • 1-inch block lettering
  • Alternate, contrasting colors
  • Exact wording specified in code
  • English and Spanish
  • Posted prominently at every entrance of the premises

30.07 Sign

A 30.07 sign prohibits unconcealed carry by a license holder onto the premises of an establishment posting the sign. The sign must meet the same standards as a 30.06 sign.


In a nutshell: Those persons that are licensed to carry a concealed handgun, may carry that handgun openly in a belt or shoulder holster starting January 1, 2016.

Can law enforcement stop and request license? Yes

  • Currently there is case law on both sides of the issue and the legislature chose not to address it. Future case law will address any issues arising from law enforcement.

Do I call 911 if I see someone with a handgun? It depends…

  • Does the person have it unholstered?
  • Is the person intoxicated?
  • Can you articulate the person is acting in a threatening manner?
  • Is the person violating the law in some way?
  • If in doubt, call 911 and give details. Police will respond if necessary.

For more information, visit http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/chl/legal/n


Thank you to Cpl. Proctor for sharing this information. He is the Problem Solving Team Supervisor and head of the Sex Offender Compliance Unit in Cleburne, TX. He is also a firearms training instructor in North Texas.

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