With very few laws governing firearms, Texas has long been considered a gun-friendly state. As long as you’re 18 years old and pass the background check, you can buy a gun in Texas, although you have to be 21 years old before you can buy a handgun. You don't need a special license to purchase a gun in Texas, nor do you need a license to carry a gun after you purchase it. Generally, you can carry a gun in your car in Texas, although a few conditions apply.
Handguns in Texas
Anyone who can legally possess a handgun can carry it in a vehicle owned by the person or under the person's control. However, if you do not have a license to carry, formerly called a Texas CHL license, the firearm must be concealed in the glove box, console or some other area of the car but not on your person. If you do have a license to carry, or LTC, you can open carry if the firearm is in a shoulder or belt holster, or conceal carry any way you wish.
Shotguns and Machine Guns in Texas
Shotguns, rifles and other shoulder arms, or long guns, are guns with a stock that is braced against the shoulder when firing. Texas has no laws regarding the carrying of long guns in motor vehicles. It’s illegal to possess a machine gun, silencer, short-barreled firearm or explosive weapon in Texas. It is also illegal to create, transport, repair or sell these items, so you are not allowed to carry these types of guns in cars under Texas law.
Other Texas Concealed Carry Laws
There are other Texas laws relating to guns in cars to be aware of. It is against the law to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly possess or take a firearm on a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution unless you have written authorization from the institution. However, valid handgun license holders are exempt from this restriction. The Department of Family and Child Services is prohibited from restricting a foster parent from carrying a handgun in a vehicle while transporting a foster child.
Texas K-12 school districts cannot prevent concealed carry license holders from keeping firearms or ammunition in a locked, privately owned or leased motor vehicle in K-12 school parking areas, provided that the firearm or ammunition is not in plain view.
In Texas, firearms are not permitted in correctional facilities, hospitals or nursing homes, amusement parks or any place where government bodies are meeting.
Under most circumstances you can carry a gun in your car in Texas, provided you are in legal possession of it.
- Texas Constitution and Statutes: Penal Code Title 10. Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, and Morals Chapter 46. Weapons
- Texas Department of Public Safety: Texas License to Carry a Handgun Laws
- Texas Constitution and Statutes: Education Code Title 2. Subtitle G. Chapter 37. Subchapter A. Alternative Settings for Behavior Management
- Texas Constitution and Statutes: Human Resources Code Title 2. Subtitle D. Chapter 42. Subchapter A. General Provisions
Claire is a qualified lawyer and specialized in family law before becoming a full-time writer. She has written for many digital publications, including The Washington Post, Forbes, Vice and HealthCentral.