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    The Texas State Law Library publishes legal research guides to help both self-represented litigants/pro se litigants and attorneys/legal practitioners locate the legal information they need.

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    Gun Laws

    This guide provides information on Texas and federal gun laws including: background checks, open carry, concealed carry, handgun licenses, restrictions for felons, and local regulation of firearms and shooting ranges.


    Buying & Transferring

    Buying Gifts & Inheritance Background Checks

    Registration & Records

    Sales Across State Lines

    3D-Printed Guns

    Carrying & Transporting

    Toggle Dropdown Owning & Possessing Toggle Dropdown Use of Firearms Toggle Dropdown Practice Aids

    Find More Information

    Disclaimer:The State Law Library is unable to give legal advice, legal opinions or any interpretation of the law. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for advice specific to your situation. If you have questions about anything in this guide, please ask a librarian.

    Background Checks

    Note Background check procedures may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the Firearms page on the COVID-19 & Texas Law research guide for current information related to COVID-19 and background checks.

    Texas Laws & Federal Regulations

    Texas Laws & Federal Regulations Texas Laws

    Section 411.052 of the Texas Government Code

    This statute discusses the state's obligation to establish a procedure to provide federal "prohibited person information" to the FBI for use with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

    Section 411.0521 of the Texas Government Code

    This statute discusses certain situations where a clerk of the court has a duty to report certain information to the Texas Department of Public Safety when a person has been deemed by the court to be mentally incapacitated.

    Section 574.088 of the Texas Health and Safety Code

    This statute provides a process by which a person who had been deemed mentally incapacitated by a court but has now been discharged from court-ordered mental health services may petition to have their federal firearms restrictions removed.

    Federal Regulations

    Code of Federal Regulations, Title 28, Part 25, Subpart A

    These federal regulations deal with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

    Understanding the Law

    See other pages of this guide for more information on buying and transferring firearms, restrictions on felons, and licenses to carry firearms.

    When is a background check required? What laws govern background checks?

    Background Check Procedures in Texas

    This page describes what background check laws apply in Texas when a firearm is sold. Sales by licensed dealers and private sellers are discussed. The page is provided by the Giffords Law Center, a nonprofit devoted to preventing gun violence.

    What Form of Identification Must a Licensee Obtain From a Transferee of a Firearm?

    This page from the ATF describes what types of ID licensed dealers may accept when selling a firearm that requires a federal background check.

    National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

    About NICS

    This website provided by the FBI provides information about the National Instant Criminal Background Check System including how background checks are conducted, privacy of personal information, and who may be denied.

    FAQs: National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

    This page from the ATF provides answers to common questions about the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Note: Use the "Next" button below the list of questions to see more pages.

    Mental Health Reporting in Texas

    This page describes Texas a law passed in 2009 that requires the submission of certain information to the FBI for use in NICS. This reporting is required in certain specific situations when a person has been deemed mentally incapacitated by a court. The page is provided by the Giffords Law Center, a nonprofit devoted to preventing gun violence.

    Failed Background Checks

    There are many reasons a person might fail a background check or otherwise be barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Below is information about some possible reasons. For information about restrictions on convicted felons, see the felons and firearms page of this guide.

    Why might a person fail a background check?

    Domestic Violence and Firearms in Texas

    This page describes situations where perpetrators of domestic violence might be barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm. The page is provided by the Giffords Law Center, a nonprofit devoted to preventing gun violence.

    If a transferee receives a “denied” response from NICS, can the transferee find out why he or she was denied?

    This FAQ from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) describes how people can find out why they have failed the NICS background check.

    Reasons NICS Background Checks are Denied or Delayed

    This page from the FBI has information about why a NICS background check might be denied or delayed.

    Appeals Process

    NICS Appeals and Voluntary Appeal File (FBI)

    If you believe you have been wrongfully denied a firearm transfer or pawn redemption due to a failed NICS background check, you may request an appeal through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    Source : guides.sll.texas.gov


    In the first hours after the nation’s 27th school shooting this year, Texan and MSNBC commentator Matthew Dowd told view

    No proof for claim in wake of Uvalde that 50% of Texas guns sales lack background checks

    If Your Time is short

    Experts said there is no data to show what percentage of Texas gun sales is done without a background check.

    See the sources for this fact-check

    In the first hours after the nation’s 27th school shooting this year, Texan and MSNBC commentator Matthew Dowd told viewers that he owns three shotguns and two rifles, and described hunting as part of the culture in Uvalde, Texas.

    Then Dowd, a one-time strategist for Republican President George W. Bush who also briefly ran as a Democrat for Texas lieutenant governor in 2021, alluded to laws "on the books" and urged support for more gun control. He claimed:

    "50% of the guns sold in Texas, because of the loopholes, do not pass through a background check."

    We reached out to Dowd through his website, MSNBC and his book publisher, but did not get a reply.

    The research director for Giffords, an anti-gun violence organization, and two university gun researchers told PolitiFact they know of no data to support Dowd’s statistical claim about background checks, which are getting renewed attention in Congress in the wake of the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde that left 19 children and two educators dead.

    It was the 27th shooting on K-12 school property in 2022 that resulted in firearm-related injuries or deaths, according to Education Week.

    When background checks are required

    Background checks are required in Texas for some gun sales.

    Federal law generally requires federally licensed firearms dealers, including those in Texas, to conduct background checks when making gun sales. The federal law does not apply to private sellers, and Texas does not have a law that applies to private sellers, either.

    In Texas, individuals can also buy guns from a licensed seller without going through a background check if they have a state license to carry a handgun.

    "So, there is no source of administrative data that provides a comprehensive estimate of the percentage of gun transactions or guns currently possessed in which there was no National Instant Criminal Background Check System check," said Philip Cook, a public policy professor and gun researcher at Duke University.

    Because some gun sales are not recorded, what’s known about the proportion of gun sales not involving a background check is based on surveys.

    But experts said those are national surveys of gun owners and not data based on actual Texas gun sales.

    Featured Fact-check

    Facebook posts

    stated on May 24, 2022 in a post

    The Uvalde, Texas, mass shooter was an “illegal alien.”

    What the surveys say

    Giffords research director Kelly Drane pointed us to a 2017 article in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal that reported a 50% finding about background checks. But it does not back up Dowd’s claim, as it does not address the sale of guns in Texas.

    The article reported the results of a nationally representative survey of 1,613 gun owners done by researchers from Northeastern and Harvard universities in 2015. The gun owners were asked about where and when they acquired their last firearm, if they purchased it and whether they had a background check.

    One finding was that, for firearms purchased privately within the previous two years — that is, other than from a store or pawn shop, including sales between individuals in person, online, or at gun shows — 50% were obtained without a background check. But the study found that private transfers were a minority of all gun transactions.

    The survey found that among all gun transfers, 22% of gun owners said they obtained their most recent firearm without a background check.

    A more recent study, published by the same researchers in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, utilized a 2019 nationally representative survey of 2,950 firearm owners. That study also does not back up Dowd’s claim.

    The study estimated the proportion of firearm transfers that occur without background checks, noting differences in the 21 states that have so-called comprehensive background check laws. Those laws vary, but they require background checks for at least some types of private gun sales or transfers, and for at least some types of guns.

    The study found that 12% of gun owners in states without comprehensive background checks said that when acquiring their most recent firearm, they did not undergo a background check. That compared with 24% in states with comprehensive background check laws. The survey asked about all gun transfers — sales as well as gifts.

    The Uvalde gunman legally purchased two AR 15-style rifles at a local federal firearms licensee, according to news reports.

    Such a licensee would have had to conduct a background check to legally make the sales.

    Our ruling

    Dowd said "50% of the guns sold in Texas, because of the loopholes, do not pass through a background check."

    We could find no data to confirm the claim, and available studies and surveys contradict the idea that such a large percentage of gun buyers in Texas were not subject to a background check.

    Source : www.politifact.com

    Texas gun laws: What are they?

    Texas has loose gun laws and one 21 states to allow permitless handguns. You can also have guns on college campus and there are few restrictions

    What to know about Texas gun laws in wake of Uvalde school shooting

    Joe Harrington

    Austin American-Statesman

    View Comments

    Following a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, gun laws under a microscope.

    Texas has long been known as a gun-friendly state and state lawmakers last year passed bills to make buying and carrying a gun easier than ever in Texas, including legislation allowing people to carry concealed or holstered handguns without a permit. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the measures into law.

    The Uvalde gunman legally purchased two AR-15 style rifles on May 17 and May 20 before murdering 21 people, including 19 children on Tuesday. Salvador Ramos bought his weapons from a local federal firearms licensee, Oasis Outback.

    Texas gun laws:Court denies Texas AG Paxton's bid to make Austin pay $5M fine for blocking guns at City HallTexas gun laws:'The bill should be called common sense carry': Texas House backs no-permit gun carry legislation

    The store is along U.S. 90 roughly 3.5 miles northeast of Robb Elementary School.

    Here are some things to know about Texas gun laws.

    How old do you have to be to buy a gun in Texas?

    You must be 18 to purchase a handgun in Texas or a long gun. But there is no minimum age to possess firearms in Texas. Parents and legal guardians are allowed to give written permission for one to be sold or given to a minor as a gift.

    What are Texas' gun laws on permits, possessing and purchasing firearms?

    Changes to gun laws in Texas — often referred to as constitutional carry or permitless carry — took effect in September 2021.

    Texas is one of 21 states where handguns can be carried without a permit.

    The law allows handguns to be carried without a permit by Texans age 21 or older with a clean criminal record. A person can carry a handgun either concealed or carried openly in a holster.

    Texans can carry handguns openly or concealed in public, most state government buildings and businesses that do not prohibit them.

    Police response to Uvalde shooting:Texas officials investigating if police acted fast enough to stop shooter at Uvalde schoolLive updates from Uvalde:Fourth-grade survivor says Uvalde gunman said 'It's time to die'

    The state already did not require a license to openly carry a long gun, and the open carry of handguns with a permit has been legal since 2016.

    The law did not change where guns are banned in the state, nor did it change background check requirements while purchasing a gun. Firearm purchases through licensed gun dealers require a background check unless the buyer has a license to carry. Gun purchases through private sellers do not require a background check.

    Federal law prohibits the possession of a handgun by anyone younger than 18, but does not provide a minimum age for the possession of long guns.

    Under federal regulations:

    Licensed firearms dealers may not sell or deliver a handgun or ammunition to anyone under age 21. Unlicensed individuals may not sell or transfer a handgun or ammunition to anyone under age 18, with some exceptions.

    For long guns or rifles: Licensed firearms dealers may not sell or deliver to anyone younger than age 18. There are no restrictions for sales or transfers of long guns or rifles from unlicensed individuals.

    There are provisions in Texas state law regarding the illegal sale or transfer of firearms that underscore federal regulations.

    Does Texas have a ban on assault weapons?

    No. Texas is not one of the states to ban to assault weapons.

    Those states are: 

    California Connecticut Hawaii Maryland Massachusetts New Jersey New York

    The District of Columbia also has an assault weapons ban.

    Other Texas gun laws to know

    Under federal law, you must be 18 to buy a handgun, but under Texas law there is no minimum age to possess firearms.

    Currently in Texas, you do not need a permit to purchase a firearm. You do not need a firearm registration. There are no magazine capacity restrictions, license requirements nor background checks on private sale requirements.

    In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed a campus carry law that allows hand guns in college campuses and dorms. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in 2018.

    A 2021 Texas bill allows gun retailers and manufactures to stay open during a declared disaster.

    The "Castle Doctrine" allows Texans to use deadly force to defend themselves while in their home.

    Where can you not carry a gun in Texas?

    Federal buildings Schools

    Public sporting events

    Amusement parks Hospitals

    Businesses that sell alcohol and or have a "51%" sign posted

    Correctional facilities

    Execution premises

    Courts or court offices

    Election polling places

    Racetracks Airports

    Texas has no limits on the number of school faculty members that can be designated "armed school marshals." A 2021 law allows those marshals to carry guns in the classroom instead of keeping them locked.

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    Source : www.statesman.com

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