In Texas, a qualified person can carry a handgun in their car or a car "under the person's control." The handgun may only be in "plain view" if the person is over 21 or has a License to Carry (LTC) and has the handgun in a holster. We have not found any Texas laws that restrict transporting a rifle or other long gun in a motor vehicle.
Who can carry a handgun in a car?
Texas law allows a person to carry a handgun in their motor vehicle or in a motor vehicle "under the person's control." The person must be able to legally carry a handgun under both state and federal law. Please see the Carry of Firearms page of our Gun Laws guide for more information on who can carry a firearm in Texas.
Section 46.02 of the Texas Penal Code makes it a criminal offense to unlawfully carry a handgun in Texas. Subsection (a)(3)(b) provides an exception for those who are:
(B) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person's control.
Other laws in the Penal Code further restrict who can carry a handgun in a vehicle:
- Section 46.02 (a-1) (2) prohibits anyone involved in criminal activity from carrying in a vehicle or watercraft.
- Section 46.04(a-1) prohibits a member of a criminal street gang from carrying a handgun in a motor vehicle or boat.
Storing the firearm
Changes made to the law in 2021 allow more people to carry a handgun in "plain view" within the vehicle. The law does require the handgun to be in a holster when it is in "plain view." Texas law does not say what type of holster is required.
Subsection (a-1) of Section 46.02 states:
(a-1) A person commits an offense 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: (1) the handgun is in plain view, unless the person is 21 years of age or older or is licensed to carry a handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, and the handgun is carried in a holster;
Texas law do not say where the gun should be stored in a vehicle or if the gun must be unloaded.
We have not found any Texas laws that restrict transporting a rifle or other long gun in a motor vehicle or watercraft.
Crossing state lines
The federal "Safe Passage" law in Section 926A, Title 18 of the U.S. Code provides an affirmative defense for people traveling with their firearm across states lines if certain conditions are met.
Private legal defense company U.S. Law Shield’s article explains this law in more detail and goes over other things to consider when traveling outside Texas with your firearm.
Employer parking lots
Section 52.061 of the Texas Labor Code prohibits an employer from denying an employee the ability to store a firearm in their parked vehicle. This law does not apply to all employers. See Section 52.062 for the list of exceptions.
Section 37.0815 of the Texas Education Code prohibits a school district or open-enrollment charter school from denying an employee with an LTC the ability to store a firearm in their parked vehicle if it is not in "plain view."
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