FAQ: Handguns in Texas Libraries

For Public Libraries

TSLAC provides the information below as a service to libraries, their patrons, and other internet users. While the information below is about legal issues, it is not legal advice. Legal information is not the same as legal advice. The information on this website is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice, or representation of, a licensed attorney. Moreover, due to the rapidly changing nature of the law, we make no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or reliability of the content at this site or at other sites to which we link.

The information below relates to the current state of the law pertaining to open and concealed carry of handguns, including our answers to some frequently-asked questions.

Changes Made by the 87th Legislature

Until the passage of House Bill 1927 [1] , also known as the Firearm Carry Act of 2021, the open carry of handguns by most individuals was prohibited unless the person had a license to carry.  House Bill 1927 makes it legal for any person 21 years of age or older to carry a handgun, either openly in a holster or concealed, in a manner consistent with state and federal law without first obtaining a handgun license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm and have not been convicted of certain specific offenses within the preceding five years.

The bill maintains prohibitions against carrying a weapon on certain premises, including polling places at certain times, government courts or offices utilized by government courts, and premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place, and further maintains restrictions on the authority to carry a handgun on certain other premises, including schools and educational institutions, which is reserved as a privilege only of license holders. The bill also adds the room(s) where an open meeting of a governmental body is taking place to the premises on which only a license holder may carry. Section 46.03 of the Texas Penal Code [2] lists the places where weapons are prohibited.  Note that libraries are not specifically referenced.

Section 30.05 of the Texas Penal Code is the general "Criminal Trespass" statute. It creates an offense if a person enters the property of another and had notice that entry was forbidden or received notice to depart but failed to do so. HB 1927 added a new subsection to that law, authorizing a person to provide notice that firearms are prohibited by posting a sign at each entrance with specific language/lettering in English and Spanish. In addition, sections 30.06 and 30.07 of the Texas Penal Code makes it a criminal offense for a license holder to carry a weapon on the property of another without consent if they received notice that entry while carrying was prohibited.  However, that section also explicitly states that it does not apply if the property on which a license holder carries a handgun is owned or leased by a governmental entity and is not a premises or other place on which the license holder is prohibited by law from carrying the handgun. Further, state law (section 411.209 of the Texas Government Code) still prohibits state agencies and political subdivisions from wrongfully excluding license holders.  Libraries that are owned by a private entity such as a non-profit organization may have flexibility to prohibit license-holders from carrying handguns and are advised to consult with legal counsel regarding their options and any legal requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

For Public Libraries (click to view)

Questions about the interpretations for public or academic libraries? Contact your own legal counsel. You may also contact the State Library at ld@tsl.texas.gov, 512-463-5465, or 800-252-9386 (toll-free for Texas). Please note: State Library staff are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice.

For additional information about Texas laws that affect libraries, visit our Library Laws of Texas Online web links. Also, you can link directly to full information about various state bills and legislation by visiting the Texas Legislature Online site at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx.

Page last modified: September 1, 2021