Does Texas Law Allow Carrying a Gun with a Bullet in the Chamber?

***This article has been updated with the passage of Permitless Carry in Texas in September of 2021.***

Sorting through all the rules for concealed carry and open carry in Texas isn’t always easy, even for seasoned gun owners in the Lone Star State. Since 2017, the only license needed for open and concealed carry is a license to carry a handgun. However, since Sept of 2021 and the passage of permitless carry, an LTC is recommended but no longer required for concealed and open carry in public. This brings us to the topic of whether or not this means you can legally carry in Texas with “one in the chamber.” This topic is explored below.

With or Without a License to Carry, It’s Legal

The straightforward answer is yes, it’s legal to have a bullet in the chamber of your gun in Texas, which is often referred to as “one in the chamber.” The stipulation is that you’ll either need a license to carry a handgun (also known as a license to carry) or meet the eligibility requirements for permitless carry. This applies to concealed and open carry of a handgun in public. As long as you are legally carrying the handgun, it is legal to have a round either in the chamber or out of the chamber.

Obtaining a License to Carry in Texas

The preferred way to legally carry a handgun with or without one in the chamber in Texas, is with a license to carry a handgun permit. This type of license is obtained through the Regulatory Services Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The application is available online.

Permitless Carry

The alternative method of legally carrying a handgun, with or without one in the chamber, is with permitless carry. Often referred to as constitutional carry, permitless carry allows eligible individuals to concealed or open carry a handgun in public without needing a license to carry. There are more restrictions and legal penalties for breaking the law under permitless carry, which is why an LTC is still recommended.

Meeting the Training Requirement

For many gun owners in Texas, the reason to carry a gun with one in the chamber is to be prepared for moments when it may need to be used. This is especially true in situations where personal safety is a concern. To be fully prepared to use your firearm if it’s necessary to do so, you’ll need to be properly trained. This is why there’s a training requirement associated with obtaining a license to carry in Texas. Always take additional classes and not just the minimum required. The additional training may just save your life.

Online & In-Person Classes

The initial instruction for the LTC can be completed either online or in person. With LTC online classes, you’ll be able to access everything on your own time. The process takes about four hours altogether. You may complete the online classes all at once, or you can break them down into 20-minute video segments. After you finish the online class requirement, you’ll take a brief quiz before receiving an LTC-101 certificate of completion. With in-person classes, you’ll have to schedule your classes in advance. Typically, you’ll need to set aside about 5–6 hours for in-person classes to complete this part of the licensing requirement.

Meeting the Shooting Qualification

No matter how you prefer to complete the classroom part of the LTC requirement, the proficiency part is the same. This is when you’ll need to demonstrate an ability to properly use your firearm. The shooting qualification in Texas involves shooting 50 rounds altogether. You’ll do this from a three-yard line back to a 15-yard line. However, most gun owners don’t find this task difficult. You don’t have to be a sharpshooter to legally carry, whether you keep one in the chamber or not. However, you’ll need to show your ability to safely handle and use your firearm. 

One of the most important parts of being a responsible gun owner is knowing the laws governing how to carry your firearm. Fortunately, high-quality firearms training is readily available. If you’re looking for a high-quality Texas online LTC class, look no further than Online Texas LTC. You can complete our video-based classes on your computer, smartphone, or tablet in the comfort of your own home. To learn more about our high-quality online courses, reach out to us today at 512-675-2124.

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