As of January 1, 2016, a new Texas state law concerning the "open-carry" of firearms goes into effect. The new law allows for the carrying (in plain-view) of firearms in compliance with existing Federal and state firearms regulations.
- The law authorizes individuals to obtain a license to openly carry a handgun in the same places that allow the licensed carrying of a concealed handgun, with some exceptions.
- A concealed carry license is required to carry a handgun; however a separate license is not required to openly carry. Individuals who hold a valid CHL may continue to carry with a valid existing license.
- Unconcealed handguns, loaded or unloaded, must be carried in a shoulder or belt holster and must remain holstered in public places.
Although the new law allows for open-carry within the park, the following federal regulations remain unchanged and will continue to be strictly enforced throughout Big Bend National Park.
- 36 CFR 2.4 (A) (1) (ii) using or discharging a firearm is prohibited.
- 36 CFR 2.2 (A) (1) Hunting, poaching or taking of wildlife is prohibited.
- 36 CFR 2.1 (a) (1) (i) Injuring, disturbing or destroying wildlife is prohibited.
- 36 CFR 2.2 (a) (1) (ii,iii,iv) & (a) (6) Harming, defacing or disturbing natural features, natural resources, or archeological resources is prohibited.
- 18 USC 930 (g) (1) Possession of firearms in federal facilities (i.e. visitor centers, ranger stations, government offices, etc...) is prohibited.
- 36 CFR 2.34 (a) Creating a hazardous condition, threatening or causing public alarm (this may apply to brandishing of weapon).
WILDLIFE IS PROTECTED BY FEDERAL LAW.
- 43 CFR 20.511 prohibits Department of the Interior employees from carrying firearms while on dugy unless specifically authorized to do so (law enforcement and certain resource management positions).
This includes: all animals, reptiles, insects, etc...even those that could be perceived as dangerous.
Law enforcement rangers have the right to stop anyone carrying a handgun openly to check for possession of a concealed carry license, and rangers will investigate reports of illegal firearms activity.
It is the responsibility of gun owners to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of all applicable Federal and state laws regarding the possession and carry of firearms before bringing them into the park.
River users need to be aware that the Mexican government considers the possession of firearms or ammunition on the Mexican side of the river and shoreline a felony. US & TX firearm regulations apply only to the US side of the Rio Grande and out to the deepest part of the center channel.
Visitors are encouraged to report any illegal or suspicious activities to the nearest park ranger or park visitor center.