LUBBOCK, Texas — The Texas Firearm Act went into effect Wednesday, which allows legal firearm owners to carry a holstered handgun in certain public spaces without obtaining a license to carry.
“The Second Amendment gives us the right to constitutional carry,” manager of Lone Star Shooting Sports Tom Larson said. “There’s a lot of people out there who are not interested in taking a government course and who want to carry because they have the right to carry.”
The Lubbock Police Department encouraged gun owners to still receive their license and proper training and said it is up to the individual to learn the specifics of the law.
“You just need to be responsible. If you’re going to own a firearm, then read the laws, read the restrictions,” Lt. Leath McClure of the Lubbock Police Department said. “It’s not just a free pass to go buy a gun, and you are free to carry it. That’s your responsibility to know when and where, and most businesses will have signs posted on the door.”
Private businesses retain the right to prohibit possession of firearms on their property, regardless of whether the owner has a license to carry. Other areas prohibit firearm possession, even licensed carrying, including schools, higher education campuses, sporting events, hospitals and government buildings. Areas that prohibit possession are required to alert the public with conspicuous signage at their entrance.
“We do see a need for some kind of training,” Larson said. “Whether that’s formal training that you come into the range and take, or you get online and educate yourself there on what the new laws are and where you can carry. You have a duty to know how to use that firearm properly.”
Firearm owners previously needed to obtain a state License To Carry to possess a handgun in public but did not need to get a license to keep a firearm in their home or vehicle.
Under the new law, carrying a firearm while entering a property that prohibits doing so is a Class C misdemeanor punishable with a fine of up to $200. Those interested in obtaining their license to carry may apply online through the Texas Department of Public Safety for a $40 fee.
“Not knowing the law is not an excuse,” Lt. McClure said. “So if you feel like you are responsible to go out and buy a firearm, then it’s your responsibility to know when and where you can carry it.”