There is some confusion over the question of whether you need a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to carry a loaded handgun in your vehicle…so here is the skinny:
IN TEXAS, you MAY carry a loaded handgun in your vehicle WITHOUT A CHL If you are NOT:
- a convicted felon;
- a gang member (as defined under the Texas Penal Code);
- involved in criminal activity more serious than a traffic violation (class C Misdemeanor);
- the handgun is NOT in plain view; or,
- Otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.
In 2011 the statute was amended – and now in Texas you do not need a CHL to carry a loaded handgun in your vehicle, provided you don’t meet the above five elements.
So I can carry a loaded handgun in my glovebox or center console?
YES…IF…you are not doing anything else illegal (other than disobeying a class C traffic regulation), it is not in plain view, you are not a gang member, and not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a handgun.
HOWEVER…if you are driving while intoxicated, in possession of marijuana, or controlled substances, you still can be charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon.
AND IF you are a convicted felon, you can NEVER possess a handgun or other firearm in your vehicle. Five years after you have been released from probation, parole or incarceration you may own a firearm in your home under Texas law (but not under Federal Law…but that is a discussion for a future post…)
Texas Penal Code
Sec. 46.02. UNLAWFUL CARRYING WEAPONS. (a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun, illegal knife, or club if the person is not:
(1) on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control; or
(2) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.
(a-1) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control at any time in which:
(1) the handgun is in plain view; or
(2) the person is:
(A) engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic or boating;
(B) prohibited by law from possessing a firearm; or
(C) a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01.
(a-2) For purposes of this section, “premises” includes real property and a recreational vehicle that is being used as living quarters, regardless of whether that use is temporary or permanent. In this subsection, “recreational vehicle” means a motor vehicle primarily designed as temporary living quarters or a vehicle that contains temporary living quarters and is designed to be towed by a motor vehicle. The term includes a travel trailer, camping trailer, truck camper, motor home, and horse trailer with living quarters.
(a-3) For purposes of this section, “watercraft” means any boat, motorboat, vessel, or personal watercraft, other than a seaplane on water, used or capable of being used for transportation on water.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), an offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(c) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed on any premises licensed or issued a permit by this state for the sale of alcoholic beverages.