Can I Carry a Handgun?


No Permit? No Problem!

Most people think that unless you have a Concealed Handgun Permit, you’re not allowed to carry a concealed handgun.  That assumption is incorrect.

Some people think that you must be traveling between counties to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.  That assumption is incorrect as well.

Below, we’ll discuss the Texas Law as it applies to both situations.

Old Law

The old law in Texas, and the one that I still hear referred to at least a couple of times a month, required you to be “traveling” to carry a handgun in your vehicle without a permit, but it didn’t exactly define “traveling” and led to much confusion.

The current law is much more lenient to you as the gun owner.

Who Can’t Carry a Handgun?

Let me be clear, if you are prohibited by law from carrying a firearm, you may not carry a handgun.  If you’re a member of a criminal street gang, you may not carry a handgun.  If you are engaged in criminal activity (other than Class C Misdemeanor traffic offense) you may not carry a handgun.

—See Definitions–Texas Penal Code §71.01

When Can You Carry a Handgun?

If you are on your own property, you can carry your handgun.  If you are directly en route between your property and your motor vehicle, you can carry your handgun.  If you are in your motor vehicle, you can carry your handgun; even while driving.  However, your handgun must NOT be in “plain view.”

—See Unlawful Carrying Weapons–Texas Penal Code §46.02

New Law Coming Soon?

A possible addition to this law is currently before Governor Perry, but has not been signed as of the date of this publication.  House Bill Number 25 (HB0025) would amend the law to include and treat watercraft like motor vehicles regarding the possession of a handgun.  I will update when more information becomes available.

Where Can You Carry a Handgun?

Well, I’d tell you that it’s easier to tell you where you can’t carry a handgun, but there are a great number of places that you can’t carry a handgun such as airports, schools, polling places, liquor stores, and many many more.  The list is quite extensive and far too complicated to try to explain in this blog.  I invite you to read the list for yourself.

—See Places Weapons Prohibited–Texas Penal Code §46.03

Should You Carry a Handgun?

This is a judgment call by you and no one can make this decision for you or tell you whether it is a good idea.  Just because you have the right to do something, doesn’t mean that you should do something, (see Westboro Baptist “Church”).

My opinions on this matter aren’t binding on any Judge and the law may change, as it often does, rendering this opinion incorrect.  If you have any questions about the law, there is no replacement for individual legal counseling provided by your attorney because an internet article cannot apply your specific facts.  Consult with your attorney if you have any questions.

–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,


Matthew Harris Law, PLLC  – Criminal Law Division

1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309

Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479

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