I am a License to Carry Holder in the state of Texas and have been one for over 15 years. Since I obtained my License to Carry (“LTC”), I have had no problem renewing my license. In fact, most of the time I conceal carry in Texas. Moreover, I have flown to other states with my firearm. When I travel to another state, I check my firearm in at the airport according to airport protocol. This process involves me placing the unloaded firearm in a hardback carrier, which is inside a locked piece of luggage with an information card I was required to complete. I had never had any issues traveling to and from another state with my firearm until my return from vacation in New York back to Texas before the pandemic.
I attempted to check in my firearm at LaGuardia Airport for my flight back to Dallas. Upon attempting to do so, a Southwest Airlines attendant notified the NYPD officers stationed at the airport. The officers confronted me about possessing a handgun in New York City. They asserted that it was illegal under New York law to possess a handgun in New York. I politely informed the officers that my right to legally possess a handgun did not expire simply because I was traveling through New York City. I then stated that I was departing from New York City, thus passing through New York City, which is no different than if I was in possession of a handgun “driving through” New York. More importantly, Texas has authorized me to carry a gun in public and this right was not extinguished just because I was passing through New York City. Finally, the officers agreed to let me check my bag with my gun and fly back to Dallas, but only after insisting I go through some additional security measures and threatening me with arrest.
While I am thankful and fortunate that this encounter did not escalate further, I realize that other people may not be as fortunate, but more importantly, they may not be as well informed about their Texas LTC rights. I succeeded in deescalating the situation and walked away unharmed because I knew my rights as a Texas LTC Holder. Had I not known my rights, this situation may not have ended the same way.
Texas is a “shall issue” jurisdiction in regard to obtaining a LTC. “Shall issue” means that “[s]tate law that provides that, upon completion of specified requirements, a law-abiding person shall be granted a permit to carry concealed firearms.”1 In order for a person residing in Texas to obtain a License to Carry a Handgun, a person must satisfy the requirements listed in Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.172.2 Indeed, Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.172(a) states a person is eligible for a license to carry a handgun if the person:2,3
(1) is a legal resident of this State for the six-month period preceding the date of application under this subchapter or is otherwise eligible for a license under Section 411.173(a);
(2) is at least 21 years of age;
(3) has not been convicted of a felony;
(4) is not charged with the commission of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or equivalent offense, or of an offense under Section 42.01, Penal Code, or equivalent offense, or of a felony under an information or indictment;
(5) is not a fugitive from justice for a felony or a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or equivalent offense;
(6) is not a chemically dependent person;
(7) is not incapable of exercising sound judgment with respect to the proper use and storage of a handgun;
(8) has not, in the five years preceding the date of application, been convicted of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or equivalent offense or of an offense under Section 42.01, Penal Code, or equivalent offense;
(9) is fully qualified under applicable federal and state law to purchase a handgun;
(10) has not been finally determined to be delinquent in making a child support payment administered or collected by the attorney general;
(11) has not been finally determined to be delinquent in the payment of a tax or other money collected by the comptroller, the tax collector of a political subdivision of the state, or any agency or subdivision of the State;
(12) is not currently restricted under a court protective order or subject to a restraining order affecting the spousal relationship, other than a restraining order solely affecting property interests;
(13) has not, in the 10 years preceding the date of application, been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct violating a penal law of the grade of felony; and
(14) has not made any material misrepresentation, or failed to disclose any material fact, in an application submitted pursuant to Section 411.174 (Application).
Currently, thirty-five states honor a Texas LTC, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.4 However, four of these states- Colorado, Michigan, Florida, and South Carolina- will only recognize a residential Texas LTC.5 For instance, in Florida, Fla. Stat. § 790.015 states that a Florida nonresident may carry a concealed firearm while in Florida so long as the nonresident (a) is at least 21 years of age; (b) holds in his or her immediate possession a valid license to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm issued to the nonresident in his or her state of residence; and (c) is a United States resident.6 There are fourteen states that do not honor a Texas LTC: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Washington D.C.7 However, people holding a LTC from California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington may carry in Texas.