What Unlawful Carry in Texas Is

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You might be asking if it is ever illegal to carry weapons in the state of Texas. In Texas, unlawful carry of weapons (UCW) refers to the illegal carrying of a firearm. It could equally be other dangerous weapons.

Typically speaking, this would be a Class A misdemeanor in the state of Texas. It may, however, quickly escalate to a third-degree felony in specific situations.

What is an unlawful carry of weapons?

In Texas, Unlawful Carry of a Weapon is carrying a firearm, an illegal knife, or a club. 

In Texas, this is often a Class A misdemeanor. However, there are several circumstances in which it can become a third-degree felony, as shall be covered below.

The instances involving pistols at UCW are the main topic of this article. Section 46.02 of the Penal Code applies to this. 

This article includes UCW lawsuits that may be brought against licensed carry holders.

In Texas, who is eligible to open carry?

Texas residents can generally carry in Texas if they satisfy the following criteria.

  • a minimum age of 21. 
  • not belong to a street gang that is involved in crime,
  • not have a domestic violence conviction for which the penalty was completed within the previous five years
  • Be exempt from a restraining order
  • not have a federal statute prohibiting the carrying of a handgun  
  • Not consume alcohol anywhere other than at home or in a motor vehicle. (Carrying a firearm while inebriated while operating a vehicle is against the law.)

If you’re 18 to 20, can you open carry in Texas?

A federal court recently declared that Texas’ ban on open carry by anyone between the ages of 18 and 20 is unconstitutional. 

Although Texas law states that you must be 21 to open carry a firearm, 18 to 20-year-olds will not face criminal charges under the existing legal framework since Texas has opted not to appeal that ruling. 

What Exclusions Apply to Open Carry?

Even if you have in a generally allowed location where you can carry gun even without a license lawfully, it is illegal for a person to have a firearm while committing an infraction (other than an offense resulting in a traffic ticket). 

If you are found carrying a weapon while committing a crime other than a Class C traffic infraction, the officer may have the right to prosecute you with UCW under Texas law. 

Therefore, even though you may not have had the intent to violate the UCW, having a weapon while breaking a law other than a traffic infraction, can cause an officer to charge you with UCW.

Unlawful Carry Of A Weapon – Airports

Texas law also prohibits carrying a weapon into airports or other restricted areas.

Unlawful Weapon Carry by License Holders

Individuals who possess a license to carry are subject to Penal Code Section 46.035. This clause forbids carrying a pistol openly unless it is holstered in a belt or shoulder holster. 

If prohibited elsewhere, like on the grounds of a high school, college, or university, the holster exemption does not apply. 

It’s crucial to remember that while open carry is permitted on campuses, campus carry is not. 

On campus, areas marked as gun-free zones are off-limits to license holders carrying handguns. The punishment is increased to a third-degree felony if you illegally carry a handgun on the property where alcohol is sold and the property has a license or permit from this state. Within a church, hospital, or place of punishment, they are prohibited from carrying a weapon. 

There is also a prohibition from carrying a pistol into any government meetings.

What is the Penalty in Texas for Unlawful Weapon Carry?

In Texas, unauthorized firearm possession without a CHL is typically a Class A Misdemeanor that carries a maximum one-year prison sentence and a $4,000 fine.

Your punishment will increase to a third-degree felony if you illegally carry a handgun on a property where they sell alcohol and the property has a license or permit from this state.

If found guilty of a crime, the penalty is from 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

What If I Refuse to Show an officer my License to Carry?

Failure to display your license is against Government Code Section 411.205 if a police officer stops you for a legitimate cause and then requests to see your license to carry. 

It may result to the seizing of firearms

Can I Carry a Weapon in a College or University?

All public institutions must permit firearms on their campuses and in their residence halls. However, college presidents now have the power to designate some areas of their campuses as gun-free. The state’s private institutions have the option to reject Campus Carry.


Unlawful Carry of a Weapon (UCW) in Texas is the illegal carrying of a firearm, club, illegal knife, or other dangerous weapons. 

It is typically a Class A misdemeanor but can escalate to a third-degree felony in certain situations.

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