Texas Gun Laws: In-Depth Comprehensive Guide (2024)

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

Texas has a well-earned reputation for being one of the more Second Amendment-friendly places in the United States. This piece will detail Texas’ firearm laws for your information (this is not legal advice!) in terms of the ammunition and gun laws that are specific to the Lone Star State.

When compared to most other states, Texas’ laws around firearms are generally lax, and there are even a few perks within state law for those looking to concealed carry or make a safety equipment purchase. With that said, every state in the USA has its legal quirks and ongoing gray areas, and Texas is no different in that regard, which is why we’ll point out those areas here as well.

Generally, buying ammunition in Texas is simple and easy, and ammo can be shipped directly to your home, with one important exception.  Buying and selling firearms, whether from an FFL or a private person in Texas is a relatively straightforward process, though there is something of a legal fight brewing between the Texas state government and the ATF around suppressor sales.

There are two major statutes that constitute  Texas’ firearms laws and regulations (aside from the state Constitution, which guarantees Texans the right to keep and bear arms). Penal Code Section 46 governs weapons within the state, and Section 236 of the Local Government Code has some important language about regulating counties within the state of Texas as far as firearm and ammo sales are concerned.

TX Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Texas

Next, we will cover the ammo laws in Texas: here is where Section 236 of the Local Government Code is important (for both ammunition and firearms buying). Section 236.002 specifically forbids counties from regulating several categories of weapons, including firearms. This also applies explicitly to ammunition sales. This means that Texas law, as it is found in the state statutes, is what is followed throughout the entire state. Not only does that make it much easier to write a piece like this one, but it also makes it much simpler for gun owners to comply with their local laws.

In general, people can buy ammunition online and have it sent to their doors in Texas. There are some exceptions to this, however. Federal law still applies, so, according to the ATF, persons who have been convicted of certain crimes cannot possess ammunition. Additionally, Texas itself prevents felons from owning firearms for five years after release, and forever bans felons from carrying a firearm in public.

So, it would not be advisable for a felon to order ammunition online unless their firearm rights have been restored by a judge. There may also be some restrictions placed by certain shippers, such as requiring an adult with a valid ID to sign for ammunition packages.

There is one other Texas-specific exception outlined in Penal Code Section 46. Specifically, paragraph 1, line 12 of the statute defines and forbids the possession of “...handgun ammunition that is designed primarily for the purpose of penetrating metal or body armor and to be used principally in pistols and revolvers.”

In summary, as long as the person ordering the ammunition is not a felon, and the ammunition is not armor-piercing handgun rounds, it is possible to purchase ammunition in stores in Texas as well as to order online and have it shipped to homes.

TX Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Texas

Next, we will do the same for gun laws. To keep things relatively straightforward, this section will address buying firearms first, and then the legal processes of carrying a firearm in Texas, though the two are related when it comes to the finer points of Texas law.

The state of Texas provides a Law Library for informational purposes that does a fair bit more than just archive statutes; it also provides general subject-matter information about various laws, including, handily, buying and selling firearms.

According to the materials in that Law Library, anyone in Texas can buy a firearm in Texas so long as:

  1. The person is eighteen years of age or older.

  2. The person is not a prohibited person (effectively, a felon) either in Texas or Federally.

  3. The person is not in Texas or the US illegally or on a temporary visa (such as students and tourists, or people in the process of getting permanent residency). 

Assuming the person is purchasing a firearm at an FFL, Texas does not impose waiting periods: thus, as soon as the background check clears, the purchaser can take the firearm with them. So, a customer can expect to fill out Form 4473, pay the store, and walk out, assuming there are no issues on said 4473. Generally, Texas follows the basic guidance set out by federal law in terms of gun sales, and does not impose additional barriers on gun purchasers.

Buying a firearm from a private person does not require a background check in Texas, but the seller has to be reasonably certain that the buyer is not a prohibited person.

There is one area where Texas diverges from the ATF’s rules and stated regulations: suppressors.  In 2021, Texas passed HB 957 into law which, in summary, means that as far as Texas is concerned, suppressors made and sold in the state that remain in the state are not subject to federal law. For those buying a suppressor in the state, this means that a Texas firearms dealer might not require you to fill out the ATF Form 4, pay a $200 fee, and wait an undetermined period (which can sometimes take months) before going home with a suppressor.

The operative word in the previous sentence is might. In practice, the ATF strongly disagrees with the new Texas law, and while Texas law enforcement cannot enforce the relevant federal laws according to HB 957, the ATF intends to enforce federal law and has warned all Texas FFLs in an open letter that they should, in the ATF’s view, continue collecting Form 4s and fees to get federal approval for suppressor sales. In practical terms, then, nothing has changed in terms of everyday people buying suppressors in Texas at this time, although as soon as someone gets prosecuted for following Texas law rather than Federal law on the matter, we will get a clearer legal answer on suppressors in Texas. 

In practice, carrying a firearm, whether openly or concealed, is straightforward in Texas: anyone over 18 can carry a firearm in Texas assuming that person is not a prohibited person or in Texas illegally. People cannot carry firearms in the following locations in Texas (summarized from Section 46 of the Texas Penal Code):

  1. Schools and colleges

  2. Polling places on election day

  3. Government or court offices

  4. Inside airport terminals

  5. Racetracks

  6. Bars (where 51% or more of their income is from alcohol sales)

  7. Correctional facilities 

  8. Mental hospitals 

  9. Amusement parks 

  10. Private property if the owner posts signs and/or notifies you that firearms are unwelcome

While this list seems long, these are extremely common across political boundaries and represent a fairly standard list of places where one cannot carry a firearm. 

Interestingly, as the Texas State Law Library explains, Texans technically have to be 21 to carry a handgun or long gun on their person. However, in light of recent changes that made it so that no permit is necessary to carry a firearm in Texas, the state Office of General Counsel has found that parts of Penal Code Section 46 cannot be legally enforced. This means that, in effect, anyone over 18 who is not a prohibited person can carry a firearm in Texas.

Texas is, due to the passage of House Bill 1927, a permitless carry state. But, Texas still offers Handgun Licences. Why would anyone bother getting a permit to carry in a state where it is not required? There are two good reasons for this:

  1. The License requires the same background check as purchasing a firearm, meaning that Texas FFLs can accept a valid License as a background check itself.

  2. Texas Licenses are accepted in many other states as a valid concealed carry permit.

In summary, Texas has some of the least restrictive laws in the country in terms of buying firearms, but there is some controversy over new suppressor laws. It is possible to carry a firearm in the state with no permit at all, but getting the permit might expedite gun purchases and it gives the holder of the permit the ability to concealed carry in about half of the country. 

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Texas 

The general sales tax in Texas is 6.25% on most goods, which puts it near the top of states. There is an additional 1% tax on firearms, ammunition, and accessories in the state as well. But, it’s not all bad news; firearms safety and storage equipment such as trigger locks and safes are exempt from all sales taxes in the state.

More Resources

Here are some resources that we think you’ll find useful in Texas: 

Texas Gun Law FAQ:

Texans can buy handguns and long guns at 18 years old.

In Texas, you have to be 18 to buy rifle and shotgun ammunition, and 21 to buy handgun ammunition

Technically, twenty-one, but the state is not enforcing the law prohibiting 18-20-year olds from carrying as of the writing of this piece.

No. As soon as the background check and payment clear, you can take your firearms home the same day.

As long as you are not a felon or other prohibited person, anyone over 18 can have ammo shipped to them in Texas. 

No, but getting one anyway will expedite background checks at gun stores, and would allow you to concealed carry in other reciprocal states.