Texas lawmakers have passed separate pieces of historic legislation that would permit open carry of firearms in The Lone Star State, in addition to allowing concealed carry of firearms on state college and university campuses by those permitted to do so. Republican Governor Greg Abbott has indicated he intends to sign both measures into law.
With the passage of HB 910, Texas reverses a 140-year-old ban on carrying handguns in plain sight, leaving only four states that continue to prohibit open carry. The measure requires permit holders to be at least 21 years of age and a resident of Texas for at least six months.
The NRA-backed legislation removes the requirement for Concealed Handgun Licensees (CHLs) to keep their handguns concealed by giving them the option of carrying their firearm either wholly or partially visible in a belt or shoulder holster.
“The NRA is proud to have played a leading role in the passage of Texas open carry legislation,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox. “The passage of this common sense law expands law abiding citizens’ right to exercise their constitutional freedoms and affirms Texans’ long tradition of supporting the Second Amendment.”
When signed, HB 910 becomes effective Jan. 1, 2016. And following several years of legislative failures, lawmakers voted as the session neared its end May 31 to add Texas to six other states that permit concealed handguns on public college campuses, joining Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, and Utah.
Under the final version of the bill, universities and colleges may establish where handguns are carried and how they’re stored. Only concealed handgun license holders—who must be at least 21 years old—will be allowed to carry their firearms on campus, and private universities may opt out of the requirement altogether.
The bill takes effect August 2016 at Texas universities and August 2017 at community colleges.