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Old January 18, 2010, 01:58 AM   #1
elwaynum1
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Texas Handgun Laws

Just recently a friend of mine asked me whether or not it was lawful to carry a loaded handgun with you while you were in your vehicle while not having a concealed carry license. I was always under the impression that in Texas you could not have a handgun on or about yourself or readily accessible to you anywhere but your own premises without a CCL. So, I got home and decided to look up the penal code and this is what I found...


http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/adminis...elatedlaws.htm

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 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 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;

(B) prohibited by law from possessing a firearm; or

(C) a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01.



So, have I been wrong? Can you carry while inside your vehicle and on the way to your vehicle from your premises? It seems like that is how the law reads. I got this from the Texas Department of Public Safety so I'm assuming this is the most up to date.

-Ben
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Old January 18, 2010, 03:33 AM   #2
bblatt11
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Don't take this as legal advice to act on (trust but verify - talk to a TX attorney);

My reading of the Code section is that carry inside a vehicle is okay if you are driving (control) or own the vehicle, and then only if the handgun is under the seat, in the glove compartment, etc.
From the plain meaning of the Code, it doesn't look like it would be okay to stow your handgun under the seat of your friend's car if he is driving, since you would lack both ownership and control in that situation.

You would need to look at the annotated code to see if TX Judicial opinions have clarified or distinguished any part of this section for a more complete answer, though DPS ought to include such decisions if offering this information for public access.
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Old January 18, 2010, 09:24 AM   #3
carguychris
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Quote:
Can you carry while inside your vehicle and on the way to your vehicle from your premises?
Yes. However, it becomes illegal the instant the driver/owner steps out of the vehicle elsewhere with the gun, unless the gun is in a case or some other opaque container, and the person has a lawful reason to possess the gun in that location.
Quote:
My reading of the Code section is that carry inside a vehicle is okay if you are driving (control) or own the vehicle, and then only if the handgun is under the seat, in the glove compartment, etc.
No, that's not how the code reads. The code only says that the gun may not be plainly visible. It's my understanding that it's OK for the driver/owner to conceal the gun on his or her body in a holster as long as he or she is in the vehicle or "directly en route". (See above.)
Quote:
From the plain meaning of the Code, it doesn't look like it would be okay to stow your handgun under the seat of your friend's car if he is driving, since you would lack both ownership and control in that situation.
I agree. The law does not allow CCW by passengers unless the passenger in question owns the vehicle.
Quote:
You would need to look at the annotated code to see if TX Judicial opinions have clarified or distinguished any part of this section for a more complete answer...
This law has been criticized for the somewhat vague "directly en route to..." clause because it could theoretically provide a "Get Out of Jail" card to someone who claims that he or she is "directly en route" between a vehicle and premises that are a substantial distance from one another. However, the law is fairly new, having been passed during the 2007 legislative session. AFAIK there have been no significant legal cases testing it.

Mandatory disclaimer: I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. This is not official legal advice. Caveat emptor.
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Last edited by carguychris; January 18, 2010 at 09:31 AM.
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Old January 18, 2010, 03:57 PM   #4
bblatt11
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carguychris,

I recognize that IWB is a legit carry method in the car, but I would not suggest it, since, as you pointed out, as soon as you step out you are in unlawful territory. Better to stow it where it can be reached but left in the car, than to IWB and forget it is there when you exit the vehicle.

Either way, you're right about the loose wording of the law - glad I don't live in TX (for once)
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Last edited by bblatt11; January 18, 2010 at 08:33 PM. Reason: Clarify euphimisms without using everyone's favorite password -******
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Old January 19, 2010, 08:03 AM   #5
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IIRC, you may conceal and transport the gun to/from the vehicle from/to your home or place of business without running afoul of the law.
Example: From the house to the car.
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Old January 19, 2010, 09:51 AM   #6
carguychris
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Quote:
IIRC, you may conceal and transport the gun to/from the vehicle from/to your home or place of business without running afoul of the law.
Example: From the house to the car.
Home, rental property, or RV, yes. (The statute includes a provision explicitly including RVs.) OTOH the actor's place of business only counts if it's "under the person's control".
Quote:
I recognize that IWB is a legit carry method in the car, but I would not suggest it, since, as you pointed out, as soon as you step out you are in unlawful territory.
True, but the statute addresses what is legal, not necessarily what is smart.
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Old January 19, 2010, 01:30 PM   #7
elwaynum1
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How does the law pertain to parking lots? Is it against the law to have a loaded handgun in your vehicle on say a public university's parking lot/garage?
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Old January 19, 2010, 02:18 PM   #8
Sgt Pepper
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A hotel room would be another example of "premises under your control."

Parking lots and parking garages are specifically excluded from the definition of premises. See Tex.Pen.Code Sections 46.03(a)(1), 46.03(c)(1), and 46.035(f)(3). However, if an activity sponsored by the school is being conducted in or on a parking lot or garage, possession of a weapon may be prohibited.

PC §46.03. PLACES WEAPONS PROHIBITED. (a) A person commits
an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses
or goes with a firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon
listed in Section 46.05(a):
(1) on the physical premises of a school or educational institution,
any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or
educational institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation
vehicle of a school or educational institution, whether the school or
educational institution is public or private, unless pursuant to written
regulations or written authorization of the institution;....
(c) In this section:
(1) "Premises" has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035.

PC §46.035. UNLAWFUL CARRYING OF HANDGUN BY LICENSE
HOLDER....(f) In this section:....(3) "Premises" means a building or a portion of a building. The
term does not include any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk
or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area.
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Old January 19, 2010, 02:23 PM   #9
carguychris
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Regarding schools, here's the pertinent sections with emphasis added by me...
Quote:
Sec. 46.03. PLACES WEAPONS PROHIBITED. (a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon listed in Section 46.05(a):

(1) on the physical premises of a school or educational institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution, whether the school or educational institution is public or private, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution;

(2) on the premises of a polling place on the day of an election or while early voting is in progress;

(3) on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the court;

(4) on the premises of a racetrack;

(5) in or into a secured area of an airport; or

(6) within 1,000 feet of premises the location of which is designated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a place of execution under Article 43.19, Code of Criminal Procedure, on a day that a sentence of death is set to be imposed on the designated premises and the person received notice that:

(A) going within 1,000 feet of the premises with a weapon listed under this subsection was prohibited; or

(B) possessing a weapon listed under this subsection within 1,000 feet of the premises was prohibited.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsections (a)(1)-(4) that the actor possessed a firearm while in the actual discharge of his official duties as a member of the armed forces or national guard or a guard employed by a penal institution, or an officer of the court.

(c) In this section:

(1) "Premises" has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035.
{Remainder of section omitted because it pertains to LE, licensed security, and military personnel}
Skipping forward to 46.035...
Quote:
Sec. 46.035. UNLAWFUL CARRYING OF HANDGUN BY LICENSE HOLDER....
(f) In this section:
(3) "Premises" means a building or a portion of a building. The term does not include any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area.
Here's the more straightforward version:
  1. You can't carry into a building, even if you have a CHL, unless school regulations allow it or you have special permission.
  2. A firearm may be possessed elsewhere on the school campus unless otherwise prohibited under Section 30.05.*
  3. If you are somewhere other than a school but a school-sponsored event is taking place, you can't have a firearm anywhere, unless school regulations allow it or you have special permission.
*Important footnote: Section 30.05 of the Penal Code, "Criminal Trespass", allows almost any property owner- including a school- to prohibit entry into their property with a weapon. This can take the form of written regulations or generic signage on the property. On school property, these prohibitions generally don't apply to CHL holders or LE officers, but they apply to everyone else.

Mandatory disclaimers apply.
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Last edited by carguychris; January 19, 2010 at 02:33 PM. Reason: Didn't explain 30.05!
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Old June 8, 2010, 05:46 AM   #10
tiresmokindad
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I agree with this Sec. 46.03. Illegal guns and other killing materials must be strictly prohibited in public places. So that murderers and other crimes will lessen in public areas.
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Old June 8, 2010, 09:09 AM   #11
luke1249
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Carguychris:

"On school property, these prohibitions generally don't apply to CHL holders or LE officers, but they apply to everyone else."

I've heard another CHL-holder in Texas mention that the signs posted around schools don't apply to CHL-holders. What part of the code is that based on?
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Old June 8, 2010, 07:09 PM   #12
Slotback
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Luke: Section 30.06 of the Penal Code. You'll sometimes hear/read a reference to 30.06 signs. What I think you heard is a reference to the signage not meeting the criteria set in the law. YMMV.
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Old June 9, 2010, 02:41 PM   #13
carguychris
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+1. Here's the statute.
Quote:
Sec. 30.06. TRESPASS BY HOLDER OF LICENSE TO CARRY CONCEALED HANDGUN. (a) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder:

(1) carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, on property of another without effective consent; and

(2) received notice that:

(A) entry on the property by a license holder with a concealed handgun was forbidden; or

(B) remaining on the property with a concealed handgun was forbidden and failed to depart.

(b) For purposes of this section, a person receives notice if the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner provides notice to the person by oral or written communication.

(c) In this section:

(1) "Entry" has the meaning assigned by Section 30.05(b).

(2) "License holder" has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035(f).

(3) "Written communication" means:

(A) a card or other document on which is written language identical to the following: "Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun"; or

(B) a sign posted on the property that:

(i) includes the language described by Paragraph (A) in both English and Spanish;

(ii) appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and

(iii) is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.


(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(e) It is an exception to the application of this section that the property on which the license holder carries a handgun is owned or leased by a governmental entity and is not a premises or other place on which the license holder is prohibited from carrying the handgun under Section 46.03 or 46.035.
Non-CHL-holders may be prohibited from entering someone's property with a weapon under Section 30.05, and the prohibition can take just about any form, including generic signage. However, Section 30.06 makes CHL holders specifically exempt from this. In order to prohibit CHL holders from entering an area, signage per Section 30.06 is required.
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