Can I Still “Carry” While Wearing A Mask?

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Texans Claim They Can’t Carry A Gun When Wearing A Face Mask…

The days of “The Lone Ranger” wearing a mask with no intent of creating harm for innocent people may be over, but concern over people wearing masks has returned to some degree. Sometimes jokingly, other times seriously, people have asked if it is illegal to carry a firearm while wearing a mask.

This has become an issue due to the new proclamation by Governor Abbott making masks necessary in counties with over 20 Covid-19 cases to wear masks. In googling this, the first article to appear was one concerning Tennessee law. Since we live in Texas, we were more concerned about our own state, so we continued digging.

The exact wording of the executive order is as follows: “Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household …”

Exceptions to this new order include:

  • Children 10 years old or younger.
  • “Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering.”
  • Those living in counties that have established with the state that there are very low numbers of COVID-19 infections. A list of exempt counties is maintained on the TDEM website.

Masks are not required when participating in the following activities:

  • When eating, drinking, or while seated at a restaurant.
  • While exercising outdoors (as long as proper social distancing is maintained).
  • While driving (as long as your passengers live in your household).
  • While obtaining a service that requires the temporary removal of the face covering.
  • While swimming.
  • While voting, working as a poll watcher, assisting a voter, or administering an election.
  • While participating in religious worship or providing access to religious worship.
  • While giving a speech or broadcast to an audience.

Also:

  • Protesters in a group of 10 or more people, must wear a mask when 6 feet of social distancing is not maintained or not possible.

There is no mention anyplace about whether those wearing a mask cannot carry firearms.

What does the law say about guns & masks?

In researching this, Librarians at the State Law Library have not been able to locate a current Texas statute that discusses the wearing of masks or disguises. Texas’s historical anti-mask law that was passed in 1925 and repealed in 1974. At the time, the law was codified as Article 454a-g of the Texas Penal Code.

The bottom line in Texas, “If you’re wearing a mask to try to hide your identity to intimidate others or commit a crime, that’s illegal. But it is legal to wear a face covering and conceal carry for the purpose of stopping the spread of COVID-19.”

According to the Walker & Taylor law firm in Houston, “Whether it be under the authority of a Texas License to Carry a Handgun (“LTC”) or other recognized license or permit, wearing a mask does not directly impact your right to carry.”

US law shield has a state by state breakdown answering if you can legally carry while wearing a mask in your state.

 

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