Motorist Protection Act compared to having a Texas CHL


I’ve been asked if a person has to have a Texas CHL in order to keep a handgun in their vehicle.   The answer is a bit more complex than just a yes or no.   If you want to read all the details, check out Texas Penal Code 46.02.

Texas is actually one of few states that specifically prohibits open carry.  However, in 2009, Texas implemented the Motorist Protection Act which allows a person without a CHL to have a handgun in their car provided that:
1. the handgun remains concealed
2. the person is not engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor (a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic)
3. the person is not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm
4. the person is not a member of a criminal street gang

A person can transport their firearm directly between their home and vehicle, or their vehicle and a gun range or shooting sport.  However,  the person may not carry the firearm on their person outside of their own premises or vehicle without a valid CHL.

So if you are heading to the grocery store, you can go from your home to your vehicle and drive to the store without a CHL.  However, it is an offense to exit your vehicle at the store with your firearm unless you hold a CHL.

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