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Texas has one of the most lenient gun laws in the country

Fort Worth Star-Telegram logoFort Worth Star-Telegram 5/25/2022 Brayden Garcia, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The shooting deaths of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde Tuesday has pushed the debate over gun laws to the forefront — with many clamoring for adjustments to gun laws in the wake of the deadliest K-12 school shooting in Texas history..

So, what are Texas gun laws like?

In the 2019 Texas Legislative session, lawmakers passed legislation to allow people to carry firearms in places of worship. In the 2021 session, lawmakers passed a law allowing people to carry a handgun without a permit, also known as “constitutional carry.” People can still opt to hold a handgun license if they choose.

Texas is one of the most lenient states for gun laws.

States that allow people to carry guns without a permit


Video: Expert insists on gun reform after school shooting (Associated Press)

In total, 25 states allow “constitutional carry”, with a majority of them passing legislation in the past seven years. Here are the states and the years they passed “consitutional carry” legislation:

  • Alabama (2022)
  • Alaska (2003)
  • Arizona (2010)
  • Arkansas (2018)
  • Georgia (2022)
  • Idaho (2016)
  • Indiana (2022)
  • Iowa (2021)
  • Kansas (2015)
  • Maine (2015)
  • Mississippi (2016)
  • Missouri (2016)
  • Montana (2021)
  • New Hampshire (2017)
  • North Dakota (2017)
  • Ohio (2022)
  • Oklahoma (2019)
  • South Dakota (2019)
  • Tennessee (2021)
  • Texas (2021)
  • Utah (2021)
  • Vermont (1793)
  • West Virginia (2016)
  • Wyoming (2021)

At what age can you buy a handgun or rifle?

In Texas, you have to be 21 years old to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer. However, an 18-year-old can buy a rifle from a licensed dealer.

The Gun Control Act of 1968, a federal law, regulates the sale and ownership of firearms. It states that shotguns and rifles, and ammunition for these guns, may be sold to individuals who are at least 18 years old. For all other kinds of firearms and ammunition, the buyer must be at least 21 years old, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Licensed gun dealers are bound by the age requirements of the act, regardless of state or local law. However, state or local law can change the ordinance if they choose to make the minimum age to purchase a gun higher than what the act states, according to the ATF.

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