Law effective in January
carrying a concealed handgun also will prevent the open-carry of handguns in places such as bars, large sporting events, on school grounds or in courthouses. Private businesses that don’t want gun owners carrying handguns inside of their establishments can post notice outside their establishments.
Because firearms are not required to be registered in Texas, it’s difficult to determine how many guns are owned in the state. A study published this summer in the medical journal Injury Prevention estimated Texas gun ownership at 35.7 percent. The Texas Department of Public Safety reported that as of December, there were 825,957 active concealed carry licenses in the state.
The potential for so many Texans to openly carry handguns has prompted a flurry of activity among departments, particularly in large cities, as agencies work to educate their officers as well as the public.
In Houston, police will host a public forum Nov. 4 to answer residents’ questions about the law.
“Houston and Dallas will be the largest cities in the United States that allow open carry of a handgun,” Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland Jr. said in a media briefing this month. “So it’s going to take some adjustments for all of us.”
Emily Taylor, an independent program lawyer with the firearms legal defense program Texas Law Shield, said she has conducted more than 40 trainings for law