Is It Legal in Texas to Have a Handgun in My Car?

Texans have a long history of appreciating the Second Amendment. At the same time, there are responsibilities that go along with gun ownership in the Lone Star State and elsewhere in the nation. If you’re a handgun owner in Texas, you may have some understandable concerns about what restrictions apply to keeping your gun in your car or other vehicle. Below, you’ll find the answers as this topic is explored. One of the best ways to be fully informed about carrying and keeping firearms in Texas is to take a Texas online LTC class, where you’ll learn all your legal rights and responsibilities as a gun owner.

The Simple Answer for Most Gun Owners

According to the Texas Motorist Protection Act, all law-abiding Texas residents are permitted to legally carry handguns in their vehicles, and there’s no requirement to have a license to carry or any other permit to do this. Also, you must own the vehicle or be in control of it at the time (for example, you’re borrowing your friend’s car for a weekend trip). So yes, you’re allowed to keep a handgun, either loaded or unloaded, in your car as a Texas resident.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

There’s always some fine print when it comes to most things involving laws. The “lawful” carrying of a handgun in a vehicle in Texas requires the following requirements to be met:

• You’re not engaged in any criminal activity while in your vehicle with a handgun
• You’re not prohibited by federal law from owning or possessing a firearm• You’re not a member of a criminal gang
• Your handgun isn’t in “plain view”

What “Plain View” Means

You may have some additional questions or concerns about the last item on the list above. “Plain view” in Texas doesn’t mean your handgun has to be placed in a certain location in your vehicle. It simply means it must be hidden from obvious view. In other words, you’re free to place your handgun in your glove compartment, a vehicle safe designed to fit under the driver’s seat, a center compartment, or any other appropriate location.

Keeping Your Gun Snugly in a Holster

You’re also permitted to keep your handgun on your body while in your vehicle. You can do this by placing it safely in a holster, even if you don’t have a license to carry. This can be done any time you’re in your vehicle.

Carrying Your Gun when You’re Not in Your Vehicle

According to Texas Penal Code Section 46.02, you can carry your handgun as long as you’re “directly en route” between your vehicle and property. Otherwise, you may not be able to legally carry your handgun when you’re out of your car if you don’t have a license to carry. In other words, you would have to leave your handgun in your vehicle when you stop to get gas, take a break at a rest stop, pick something up at a convenience store, or make any other stops on your way to your destination. 

One of the most important parts of being a responsible gun owner is knowing the laws governing how to carry your firearm, both on your person and in a vehicle. Fortunately, high-quality firearms training is readily available. If you’re wondering “Can you get your LTC online in Texas?” the answer is “yes.” If you want to take a concealed carry class to get your carry permit, you’d like to update your knowledge with an LTC/CHL refresher course, or you need to find an LTC instructor for the proficiency demonstration, look no further than Online Texas LTC. You can complete our video-based classes on your computer, smartphone, or tablet in the comfort of your own home. To learn more about our high-quality online courses, reach out to us today at 512-675-2124.

Handgun in a car