Texas Gun Control Laws

Texas gun control laws are among the least-restrictive among U.S. states. While machine guns, saw-off shotguns, silencers, armor-piercing bullets, zip guns, and explosive weapons are in most cases prohibited by state law, Texas does not have a waiting period for gun purchases. Additionally, Texas allows all qualified applicants to carry a concealed firearm with a permit.

Learn more about Texas gun control laws and additional background on the subject in the table below. See Details on State Gun Control Laws for more general information.

Statute(s) Texas Penal Code Section 46.05, et seq. (Prohibited Weapons)
Prohibited Weapons

The following weapons are prohibited under section 46.05*:

  • Explosive weapons
  • Machine guns
  • Short-barreled firearms
  • Firearm silencers
  • Knuckes
  • Armor-piercing ammunition
  • Chemical dispensing devices
  • Zip guns
  • Tire deflation devices

Note: Under Section 46.05(a)(1), certain prohibited weapons may be possessed, manufactured, transported, repaired or sold if they are registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or if they are classified as a curio or relic by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Waiting Period None
Who May Not Own
  1. Convicted felons within 5 yrs. of release or parole;
  2. Minors under 18 without parental consent;
  3. Those confined in penal institution.
Law Prohibiting Firearms On or Near School Grounds This is a felony in Texas. See Penal Code Sections 46.03 and 46.11.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Second Amendment Basics

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution controls all gun regulation in the United States. The Amendment reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed". If a state law violates the "right to bear arms" the law is unconstitutional and invalid.

People in favor of a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment, and looser gun regulations, argue that the Second Amendment guarantees all people the right to own firearms for personal protection, and protection against a tyrannical government. A common belief is that any form of firearm registration gives the government knowledge of the location of firearms, knowledge that an oppressive government can use to confiscate firearms. Another argument is that restricting the purchase of firearms restricts the individual right to self defense.

Those in favor of a narrower interpretation of the Second Amendment argue that the phrase "well regulated Militia" narrows the scope of gun ownership to those participating in a local military. They may also argue that the Second Amendment must be interpreted in light of the high incidence of gun violence throughout the country.

Illegal Firearms in Texas

The Second Amendment does not allow citizens to own every type of firearm. Some commonly known, and prohibited, firearms include machine guns, short-barreled firearms, silencers and silenced firearms, armor piercing ammunition, zip guns, and explosive weapons.

Who May Not Own Firearms

There are certain people who have lost their right to own and possess firearms. Those include convicted felons within five years of release or parole, minors owning firearms without parental permission, and those confined to a penal institution.

School Grounds

Texas prohibits firearms on or near school grounds. However, there may be exceptions for law enforcement officials, and those with permits to carry concealed firearms. Local restrictions may be in effect as well. It is best to consult an attorney with up to date knowledge in these matters.

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm in Texas.

Need More Information on Texas Gun Control Laws? An Attorney Can Help

If you would like to know more about Texas firearm laws, there are many attorneys throughout the state with criminal defense experience who may be able to help. In addition to helping you with criminal charges, an attorney that is especially knowledgeable about Texas firearm regulations may be able to help you reclaim unlawfully confiscated firearms and restore an improperly revoked concealed carry license.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.