Texas generally has a practical approach to firearms for legal and responsible gun owners in the state. This extends to situations when you may need to quickly access a handgun while in your vehicle, such as if you’re dealing with an attempted carjacking or armed robbery. Below, the firearms education professionals from Online Texas LTC, a top provider of Texas LTC online classes, go over what to keep in mind when carrying a loaded gun in your car in Texas and what applies with permits.
The Texas Motorist Protection Act Governs Carrying Guns in Cars
This is the act that specifically addresses guns in your vehicle in Texas. In a nutshell, it states a legal driver and gun owner doesn’t need a license or permit in the Lone Star State to carry a firearm in a vehicle, whether the gun is loaded or not. However, there are some important details and caveats to keep in mind.
Handguns Have to Be Concealed or in a Holster (in Your Car)
One of the main caveats to being able to legally keep a loaded handgun in your car without a permit in Texas is that it can only be in “plain view” if it’s in a holster. With a handgun, this requirement can be met by keeping it concealed or in a holster as long as you’re in your car. But keeping it out of plain view isn’t limited to using a holster, according to the Motorist Protection Act we mentioned above. Your loaded gun can also be in a case or another secure location as long as it’s not clearly visible in your vehicle.
Long Guns Are Different
If you’ve done any driving in Texas, we don’t have to tell you about the common practice of having guns in a visible gun rack in a car or truck. In this instance, it’s perfectly legal to have a long gun, such as a rifle or shotgun, that’s loaded and in plain view. Also, there are no permitting or licensing requirements for long guns in Texas, so you won’t have to worry about this particular issue, either. However, you should still use common sense when you carry a long gun in your vehicle (e.g., not just randomly leaving it on your front seat during a traffic stop).
State/Federal Requirements Apply
Not surprisingly, there are some things you can’t do with a loaded gun while in your car in Texas—or any state, for that matter. For one thing, you can’t be engaged in criminal activity at the time. Also, you have to be legally allowed to own a gun in Texas, and you can’t be prohibited from carrying or owning a gun for any reason. For instance, individuals with pending felony charges aren’t permitted to possess firearms.
Leaving a Gun in Your Car
If you are traveling with a firearm in your car, it is important to either properly secure the gun when leaving the car or take it with you if possible. Especially in large metropolitan areas, vehicle break-ins are becoming more common. Leaving your handgun under a seat, in a glovebox, or anywhere else that can be easily accessed is not a good idea. The last thing any responsible gun owner wants is for your gun to get into the hands of a criminal, especially if it is a result of your not taking proper steps to secure the gun. One option is to use a lock box, such as the one pictured below, put it under a seat, and use the cable to attach it to the car. The cable used is not the strongest if someone wanted to cut it, but it would prevent a “smash and grab”. This is where a criminal is trying to get into the car and leave the car as fast as possible.
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Whether you carry a gun for self-defense, hunting, competition, or another purpose, make sure you have the proper training to do it legally and safely. You can count on the firearms education pros at Online Texas LTC for the highest-quality training available. Whether you’re looking for LTC proficiency testing or you want to take a Texas CHL class, call us today at 512-675-2206.