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Can an 18 Year Old Carry a Handgun in Texas?

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The Lone Star state is one of the states that still follow traditional time-honored values. They are less restrictive to their citizens compared to other states. When it comes to gun laws, Texas probably has more freedom granted to its people. What if you’re a minor? This begs the question, can an 18-year old carry a handgun in Texas?

Can an 18 Year Old Carry a Handgun in Texas?

Under federal law, you must be at least 18 years old to possess a handgun and handgun ammunition. However, there are some exceptions such as defense against an intruder, target practice, hunting, or participating in a safety training course.

When it comes to long guns, federal law doesn’t restrict the child’s possession of firearms. A child is, under federal law, someone under the age of 17 years. As long as the child has parental permission and the gun is legally given by an adult, there is no violation of the law. 

Man concealing gun behind his back

Under the Texas penal code, a child won’t get into any trouble but any adult person who transfers or carelessly makes readily dischargeable firearms accessible to a child can be liable. 

Can an 18 Year Old Buy a Handgun in Texas?

Under federal law, you have to be at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun. For long guns, you have to be at least 18 years old. In Texas, you can purchase a handgun even if you’re 18 years old. 

That being said, 18-year-olds can bypass federal law by buying through a private sale. Texas residents between 18 to 21 years of age can’t buy a handgun through an FFL dealer but can buy one from another Texas resident. A private sale is any sale between 2 unlicensed dealers.

We don’t usually recommend this as you may be held liable for whatever the 18-year-old you sell the handgun to will do with it. 

Can an 18 Year Old Have a Pistol in His Car in Texas?

In Texas, there’s no statute that prohibits an 18-year-old from the possession of a handgun. Under MPA, they can, but they wouldn’t have a license to carry until they’re 21 years old with the exception of military members. 

Under Texas penal code 46.02, it is not illegal to have a pistol or firearms in your car as long as it’s concealed in the vehicle and not in plain view. This means any person who can legally possess a handgun can carry it within a vehicle. There are some exceptions to this law like:

It’s also illegal to transfer a firearm to someone younger than 18 under Texas penal code 46.06. If you have a Texas license to carry or a firearms license from another state that Texas honors then concealing the firearms in your vehicle isn’t necessary. 

Can you Open Carry at 18 Texas?

In order to open carry a handgun in Texas, you will need an LTC (license to carry). If you do not have an LTC or other state license Texas honors then you can only open carry if the firearm is in a shoulder or belt holster. The police also have the authority to ask for your license to carry when you’re open carrying. 

You can also open carry a sidearm if you’re out hunting. When it comes to long guns, you can open carry them in most cases but are limited by disorderly conduct statutes. So there are certain restrictions and limitations when you open carry in public places like the parking lot, market, or movie theaters. 

Man pointing a gun near the stairs

List of areas that can legally restrict someone with CHL (concealed handgun license) from carrying a firearm. This also applies to open carry:

  • Any property owned by the federal government of the United States including post offices.
  • Educational institutions of all types, whether public or private and irrespective of grade level.  
  • Locations of public sporting events. This includes both scholastic and professional sporting events. The only exception is for people who are participating in a sporting event where it requires the use of a firearm like a target shooting competition. 
  • Any business that posts a 51% sign – this refers to locations where alcoholic beverages are being sold on the premise. 
  • Correctional facilities do not allow the carry of a weapon, concealed or not, while on the property of a jail, prison, or other correctional facilities. 
  • Courts of all jurisdiction levels, including local, state, and federal. However, certain exceptions are made in the case of employees of the court like judges, guards, and attorneys.
  • Election polling locations. 
  • Racetracks where dogs, horses, and/or auto racing is held. 
  • Any location displaying a 30.06 sign. Any property owner can prevent you from being armed while on their premises. It doesn’t matter if you have a CHL license or not. The sign must be displayed publicly for other people for it to apply.  


Texas is one of the few states that give more freedom to their citizen when it comes to gun rights. Even 18-year-olds are allowed to possess a gun but they aren’t allowed to buy one. There are laws and a bit of restriction yet it’s all in the name of safety. 

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created KeepGunsSafe.com with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.