Is it legal to have a gun in your car? What about a shotgun or a rifle? Texas may be known for defending its residents’ rights to tote their guns around on their person (just check out our post on License to Carry laws)… but what about a Texan’s right to keep guns in their vehicles?
Let’s break down the types of firearms a Texan can legally keep stowed in their ride, be that ride a 1967 Cobra or a lifted 2019 Ford Dually.
Note: For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to assume that the hypothetical gun-carrying Texan in question has no outstanding legal issues such as a felony or violent assault conviction. For more information on the legality of felony gun ownership, check out our other post:
Or if you’re a fan of dense legalese, go straight to the source and check out Texas Penal Code §46.02 for Unlawful Carrying a Weapon.
If I don’t have a License to Carry (LTC), is it legal for me to keep a gun in my car?
Short answer? Yes. But you need to be aware of two things. One, there are laws about how to store your gun in your car. And two, that how to store your gun legally varies depending on the type of firearm you have with you.
Without an LTC, a handgun must be kept concealed. That means that a handgun can be kept in the glove box, on the front seat (so long as it’s covered), or some other location where it is not in “Plain view.”
Meanwhile, a shotgun or rifle can be left in plain view, even without an LTC. Remember the “good old days” when every pickup had a rifle or shotgun or both hanging in the back-window rifle rack? Well, in this case, the good old days are still here. Heck, you can leave it on your dashboard or on your front seat. Of course, your shotgun or rifle is more likely to get stolen more if you store it that way.
Just don’t wave your gun around or point it at a neighbor next to you in traffic. That can lead to serious charges.
Keeping a gun in your car with an LTC
If you do have an LTC, you can keep your handgun in plain sight, albeit with some restrictions.
With the passage of open carry law in 2016, LTC holders can choose to carry their pistols in view for all to see. However, the handgun must be kept in a holster, and the same goes for a pistol in a vehicle. If you have an LTC and a handgun, you can keep your pistol in plain view so long as it is in a holster. The pistol does not have to be on you. It can sit on the passenger seat, the dash, wherever you want, so long as it is in a holster.
Conceal the pistol if the handgun is not in a holster.
The laws regarding how to store your shotguns and rifles in your vehicle do not change whether you have an LTC or not.
Can I use a magnetic mount for a holster in my car?
According to Texas law, a handgun must be in a “shoulder or belt holster.” A magnetic mount is not considered a holster. That means that leaving your handgun in a magnetic mount in your car is akin to leaving it in plain sight without a holster — a violation of Texas Law regardless of whether you have an LTC or not.
How many guns can I have in my car?
As many as you want, as long as you legally own them and store them legally.
Are your rights under fire?
If you’ve been arrested for a weapon charge, Thiessen Law Firm’s Ronnie Yeates, a retired Assistant District Attorney and 07/02 Federal Firearms Licensee, is uniquely qualified to help.
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Can you get a DWI on a Scooter?
Can the Police Search Your House Without a Warrant?
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