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Where Can You Carry a Handgun in Texas Without a Concealed Handgun License

Recently, I was involved in defending an individual who was charged with Aggravated Robbery where the person who committed the robbery used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the course of the robbery. In this particular case, the deadly weapon that was exhibited was a 9mm handgun. Before trial and while qualifying the prospective jurors, the prosecution raised the issue of where a person who does not have a concealed handgun may lawfully carry a handgun in Texas. While questioning the jury panel, it became quite clear that the potential jurors’ feelings and attitudes concerning gun laws were just as mixed and diverse as their knowledge and familiarity of the specific laws that govern where a person may and may not lawfully carry a handgun in Texas. Therefore, this article is meant to educate, clarify, and dispel some of the misconceptions concerning where a person who does not have a concealed handgun license may lawfully carry a handgun in Texas.

When and Where Does a Person Unlawfully Carry a Handgun in Texas?

First, let’s get our sights on target and look at the statute that deals with the unlawful carrying of weapons in Texas. Section 46.02 of the Texas Penal Code states that a person unlawfully carries a weapon 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:

  • on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control; or
  • inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.

Furthermore, a person unlawfully carries a weapon 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:

  • the handgun is in plain view; or
  • the person is engaged in criminal activity (other than a minor traffic offense), prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, or a member of a criminal street gang.

You May Lawfully Carry a Handgun on Your Own Property in Texas

Living in Texas, almost everyone seems to agree that you should be allowed to carry a handgun or other weapon on your own property and inside your home to protect yourself and your family, and you are. The Texas Penal Code permits a person to carry a handgun when the person is on his or her own premises. The Penal Code defines premises to include real property and a recreational vehicle that is being used as living quarters, regardless of whether that use is temporary or permanent. Therefore, Texas law allows you to walk around your home with a handgun day and night whenever you may please even if you do not have a concealed handgun license.

You May Lawfully Carry a Handgun in Your Motor Vehicle in Texas

While many people are familiar with the fact that Texas law permits someone to carry a handgun on their own property and inside their home, many Texas residents are surprised to learn that you may carry a handgun inside of your car or truck without having a concealed handgun license. According to the Texas Penal Code, as long as the handgun is concealed, you may lawfully carry a handgun in your vehicle. However, as the statute indicates, you must not engage in criminal activity (other than minor Class C Misdemeanor traffic offenses), be a felon, or be a member of a criminal street gang while carrying a handgun in your vehicle.

Learning More about Handgun Laws in Texas

Hopefully this article has helped to clear up a few of the questions and concerns that many citizens have involving when and where a person who does not have a concealed handgun license may lawfully carry a handgun in Texas. Please note, however, that this article is not intended to be legal advice, nor is it a substitute for contacting a qualified criminal defense attorney to address specific legal issues and questions that you may have. Therefore, if you, or a friend, or family member have further questions concerning handgun laws in Texas, I strongly urge you to contact my office for further assistance at (972) 372-4054.

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