Information on New Open Carry Law

The information provided on this page is for educational purposes and not intended to be legal advice. The law itself is confusing and some of the questions asked simply may have not been addressed by the law. The Big Spring Police Department or any other Texas law enforcement agency will not have all the answers to all the questions concerning the new open carry law though we are confident issues, questions and concerns will be answered through the Texas Attorney General’s office, case law and future legislation.


On the 1st of January 2016, House Bill 910 will be effective eliminating the distinction between concealed and open carry, creating a “license to carry a handgun”. A person with a current concealed handgun license or a person who obtains the new “handgun license”, can carry a handgun in a concealed manner or openly in a belt or shoulder holster. The rules relating to where and when a license holder may openly carry are basically the same as the previous law regarding when a concealed handgun license holder could carry. Current CHL holders will not be required to attend any new training in order to open carry, but any new individuals that attend the mandatory training to obtain their handgun license will receive additional weapon’s retention training during the course.


It is illegal for any person who is not a handgun license holder to openly or conceal carry a handgun in a public place.

It is still a Third Degree Felony to bring a handgun to the following places, regardless of whether he or she is licensed or not:

  • A school or educational institution, any place where a school-sponsored activity is taking place, a school bus or van used to transport passengers, regardless of whether the school is private or public. (Exception to this will be August 1st 2017 regarding Howard College and is mentioned below).
  • A polling place on voting days.
  • Any government court or offices utilized by the court, unless there is a written authorization of the court.
  • A racetrack.
  • Any location which is licensed by TABC and takes in 51% of their gross receipts in alcohol.
  • In a secured area of an airport; however, a license holder who makes a mistake at security be forgetting that he or she possesses a handgun can leave upon notice.
  • Within 1,000 feet of a place of execution on a day that a sentence of death is set to be imposed on the designated premises and the person received notice that doing so is prohibited.
  • On the premises of a correctional facility.
  • On the premises of employment if prohibited by the license holder’s employer.
Handgun license holders face further restrictions relating to the concealed or open carrying of a handgun when businesses post signs indicating that entry on the property with a handgun by a license holder is forbidden. Businesses can choose to restrict conceal carry, open carry or both but must provide the appropriate signage dependent on which ones the business wishes to forbid. The language required to provide notice that carrying is not allowed has been changed, which means any old “30.06” signs must be replaced to include the new language and requirements. In addition, a new “30.07” sign that specifically refers to open carrying must also be posted in order to prohibit the open carrying of handguns. The requirements for these signs must have specific language in English and Spanish as required in Texas Penal Code 30.06 and 30.07, must be in at least 1” block letters, appearing in contrasting colors and must be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public. Another way to forbid entry is simply asking to leave the premises by a business owner or person in charge of the establishment.

Written notice is not required to prohibit the possession of handguns.


The Campus Concealed Carry law for Junior Colleges (Howard College) does not go into effect until August 1st, 2017. Junior Colleges will only be allowed to restrict certain areas for restriction of concealed carry. Open carry of a handgun is not authorized on a campus of any Junior College.

The Big Spring Police Department respects the rights of our citizens. It is our duty to ensure your rights are not infringed upon. Persons lawfully carrying firearms under Texas law shall not be unnecessarily hindered in the exercise of that privilege. The disarming of persons lawfully carrying firearms should only occur consistent with state law where an officer reasonably believes it is necessary for the protection of the license holder, officer or another individual. If a license holder is carrying a handgun on or about the license holder’s person when a magistrate or peace officer demands that the license holder display identification, the license holder shall display both the license holder’s driver’s license and the license holder’s handgun license. License holders are also reminded that a person commits a Class B Misdemeanor if he or she intentionally or knowingly displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm. We also recommend and suggest any person who lawfully openly carries a firearm to utilize at least a level II retention holster, meaning there is a secondary motion or button required in order to get the handgun out of the holster rather than the gun being held by friction only.