It’s understandable to be anxious if a law enforcement official pulls you over as you’re driving. The most common reason for this to happen is a traffic-related stop. If you’re a legal gun owner in Texas, you may have your firearm directly on you or in your vehicle in such situations. Do you have an obligation to tell the officer you’re carrying a firearm? One of the best ways to be informed about carrying firearms in Texas is to take a Texas LTC class, where you’ll learn your legal responsibilities as a gun owner, including whether you’re required to tell a police officer you have a gun in your car.
There’s an Obligation to Disclose
If you’re a Texas License to Carry holder, you’re required to inform the officer is you have a firearm on you. You can do this by presenting your license to carry as you hand the officer your driver’s license. There’s no real legal ramifications if you fail to tell a cop about a gun in your vehicle, but your LTC could be revoked. Whether you have a firearm in the vehicle or not, it’s recommended to tell the officer about having an LTC.
What to Do if You Don’t Have a License to Carry
There’s no requirement to have a license or permit if you’re a legal handgun owner in Texas, according to the Texas Motorist Protection Act. Therefore, it’s possible to be in a situation where you’re pulled over for a traffic stop and your gun is in the car but you have no license. In this instance, it’s still advised you disclose the fact that you have a gun in the vehicle, but it’s not required. If there’s reason for concern, a routine check can always be done to verify you’re a Texas resident and a legal gun owner.
Telling an Officer about the Gun in Your Car
The phrase “I have a gun” should be avoided for obvious reasons. Instead, you might say you have a license to carry if you have one. Another option is to inform the officer you’re a legal firearms owner and user and you have a gun in your car. The main thing is to choose your words carefully. It’s also advised you handle an interaction with an officer when there’s a gun in your car by:
• Avoiding humor or anger
• Placing your hands on the steering wheel as you talk with the officer until given further directions
• Remaining calm as you inform the officer about your gun
What happens next depends on the nature of the interaction. The officer may simply ask you to show him or her the gun, or he or she may just acknowledge you disclosed this fact and wrap things up. The gun may also be temporarily taken and secured for safety purposes.
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 want to take a license to carry Texas class or you’d like to update your knowledge with a CHL refresher course, 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 512-675-2206.