Texans have had the right to carry a gun publicly for several years. However, there are some laws applicable to gun owners. For example, the state laws don’t allow citizens to carry guns like rifles or shotguns, etc., to Government places.
If you are a gun owner and a resident of Texas, here is what you need to know before stepping out with your weapons in Texas.
Carrying A Handgun in Car in Texas? Is It Legal?
Yes, you can legally carry a handgun in your car in Texas with or without a license. According to the new gun laws effective from September 2021, people above 21 can keep handguns openly or concealed without a permit.
So, you can take your handgun with you without worrying about the local government or police stopping you. And you don’t need to attend any high-quality firearms training or concealed carry class to keep a gun with you.
What Is the Law Regarding Carrying a Handgun In A Vehicle In Texas?
According to the new Texas motorist protection act, Texans can keep a gun without a License to Carry (LTC). However, they should fulfil the following criteria before keeping firearms in their vehicles:
- The individual should be at least 21 years old.
- The person shouldn’t have a prior felony conviction.
- The person shouldn’t have a recent conviction for misdemeanors.
- The individual shouldn’t be subject to an unexpired protective order as listed in Texas Penal Code section 46.04 (c).
- The person shouldn’t be restricted from possessing firearms under the federal law mentioned in 18 United States Code Section 922 (g).
- The person shouldn’t be intoxicated apart from specific situations listed in Texas Penal Code Section 46.02(a-6).
Additionally, you can apply for a license to get other benefits while transporting your gun in your vehicle.
Is It Illegal to Have a Handgun In The Car In Texas?
No, it isn’t illegal to keep guns in your vehicle in Texas. Texans have legal rights to travel with firearms. But they should be of 21 years of age and shouldn’t be prohibited from carrying a firearm.
What Are the Penalties for Breaking This Law?
Though Texas and 19 other states permit residents to have a gun in the motorcar, they have penalties for people breaking rules and illegally using their weapons. Below are the penalties applicable to Texans for illegally using and carrying firearms:
- Using a gun with or without firing during a criminal activity like robbery, sexual assault, etc., increases the offense to an aggravated status and makes it a first-degree felony punishable up to life in prison.
- Using or keeping handguns while committing non-violent offenses will prevent you from getting community supervision and may even require you to serve a minimum of 90 days in jail.
- The unlawful possession of a firearm is a third-degree felony, and you can get jailed for two to ten years and fine up to $10,000.
Are There Any Exceptions to This Law?
Texas permits people to carry a weapon in their vehicle but applies the following exceptions to everyone, including license holders:
- Individuals cannot take weapons to federal buildings like post offices, courts, etc.
- Taking concealed weapons to educational premises is not allowed. However, employees and other people can keep guns in their vehicles.
- Individuals cannot take weapons in execution areas, amusement parks, hospitals, prisons, airports, election polling areas, and racetracks.
- Taking a gun to a sporting event building unless the event requires a gun is illegal.
You can lawfully take your gun in Texas LTC Austin to all places except for the prohibited areas. Again, Texas law doesn’t specify where to put the firearm in the vehicle or if it should be unloaded or loaded.
However, according to the open carry law, you can keep a handgun in Texas in a holster, preferably a belt holster.
Can I Open Carry My Handgun in My Car in Texas, Or Must It Be Concealed?
You can take handguns openly or concealed as long as you are not banned from possessing a gun. You can keep the weapon in your car’s glove compartment or keep it in a belt or shoulder holster.
The only thing to remember is not to take weapons to restricted places in LTC Austin like Government offices, schools, courts, etc.
Can You Have a Loaded Gun in Your Car in Texas?
Yes, it is legal to take a loaded rifle, handgun, or shotgun in your vehicle in plain view or concealed. However, gun owners are bound to keep the firearm in a holster according to gun rights. Also, guns shouldn’t be publicly visible in certain places.
If I Don’t Have a License to Carry (LTC), Is It Legal for Me to Keep A Gun In My Car?
Yes, you can keep your gun without a carry permit. But you need to be careful not to wave it in public or point it out to someone as it is a criminal offense.
Besides, you need to keep your handgun concealed so that it is not viewable by the public. However, you can keep your long guns like a rifle or shotgun in plain view on the front seat or dashboard.
What About When I’m Not in The Vehicle?
Any responsible gun owner without a carry permit must leave the firearm in the vehicle. You cannot take your handgun to places like restaurants, restrooms, parks, etc., without a license in this lone star state.
One of the most important parts while taking a firearm is to keep it concealed if you are not directly en route between the vehicle and your property.
If I Have a Concealed Handgun License (CHL), Do I Still Have to Follow the Laws Regarding Carrying A Handgun In My Car?
If you have a concealed weapons permit, you must follow specific rules while taking your handgun in your car. Concealed carry gives you the legal right to take the gun in your vehicle, but you can’t keep it in plain view. Also, you can’t take your it to the areas where taking weapons is illegal.
How About Long Guns?
Texas license allows you to carry long guns in your vehicle. You don’t have to conceal your rifles and shotguns while traveling with them in Texas. You can proudly place them on your front seat or the gun rack and drive them through Texas. And if traffic stops you, don’t get worried. It’s only because the gun is in open view so you can talk to the police, and they’ll let you go!
Federal Prohibitions: The Following Nine Categories of People Are Not Allowed To Have Guns Or Ammunition Under Federal Law.
Federal laws don’t allow gun ownership to the people falling into the following categories:
- Individuals sentenced for a crime punishable by imprisonment for over a year and people having pending felony charges.
- Fugitives from justice.
- People who are addicted to controlled substances.
- Mentally ill people or people committed to a mental institution.
- People with non-immigrant visas and illegal residents.
- People who are dishonorably dismissed from the US armed forces.
- People who renounce their US citizenship.
- People who are subject to protective or other domestic court orders.
- People who are sentenced for misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence.
Does Texas Law Require Informing Police You Have a Firearm in Your Vehicle?
You must inform the police that you have a firearm in the vehicle only if traffic stops you. In such cases, you must show your driving license and license to carry to the police officer before being asked. This is necessary for safety reasons, so you shouldn’t try to hide the gun or lie to the officer.
How Many Guns Can I Have in My Car?
There is no limit on the number of guns you can have in your vehicle. But you should legally own and carry the weapons in your vehicle.
Texas Gun Laws for Out of State Visitors
Out-of-state visitors are allowed to carry a gun in Texas without a license. However, the same gun rules applied to Texans apply to foreigners. And, you cannot buy a gun from Texas as a foreigner.
Besides, Texas has reciprocity agreements with other states, which are considered valid in Texas.
Can I Carry a Handgun in My Vehicle in Texas at 18?
No, you cannot carry a handgun in Texas if you are 18 years old. Texas only allows people above 21 to keep a gun in their vehicle. So, you cannot keep the gun for self-defense or other reasons until you become 21.
Beginning September 1, 2021, HB1927 made it legal in Texas for most people 21 or over to carry a handgun in a holster without a permit both openly and/or concealed. This law modified the previous open carry law from 2016 by eliminating the requirement to have a license to carry.
Yes, you can reference the Motorist Protection Act for more details
As long as you are legally permitted to own a firearm and the vehicle belongs to you, then the answer is yes; you may have a gun, loaded or unloaded, in your vehicle in the state of Texas. Notice: Texas does not have laws regulating the carry of legal long guns (rifles or shotguns).