From Houston Public Media:
Texans have had the right to carry a gun in public since 1995, when then-Gov. George W. Bush signed concealed carry into law.
More gun-friendly legislation followed over the years. In 2007, the Texas Motorist Protection Act made it legal for people without a handgun license to keep a firearm in their vehicle. The state Legislature authorized guns on state university campuses and open carry in 2015. But you still needed to obtain a license to be able to take your gun outside your home or vehicle.
That’s no longer the case come Sept. 1 after lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1927, which allows anyone who can legally own a firearm to carry it – in a holster – in public, for the first time since Reconstruction.
Texas joins 19 other states with what supporters call “constitutional carry” laws
“You could say that I signed into law today some laws that protect gun rights,” Gov. Greg Abbott said at the June bill signing. “But today I signed documents that instilled freedom in the Lone Star State.”
Texas’ law doesn’t change eligibility for gun ownership. Like anyone who wants to own a handgun in Texas, you must be at least 21 years old and can not have served a sentence for a felony or family violence within the last five years.
The new law also adds some other misdemeanors to the list for those who want to carry, including assault causing bodily injury, deadly conduct, terroristic threat, and disorderly conduct with a firearm.
When you buy a gun from a licensed dealer, you must go through a background check, although that is not required for private gun sales in Texas.
Permitless carry remains controversial. While Republicans, for the first time, were largely united in support of the bill, it was opposed by gun safety advocates, law enforcement and vocal firearm instructors.
Nearly six in 10 Texas voters polled by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune in April opposed permitless carry.
“I think it will mean more handguns in public,” said Gyl Switzer, executive director of Texas Gun Sense. “And data show us time after time after time that guns don’t make us safer.”
Switzer was also worried about a lack of training for armed people, which could make threatening situations more dangerous and lead to more stolen weapons. Data suggests an increase in guns stolen from vehicles in some states after passing laws making it easier to have firearms in cars.