Texas Concealed Carry Laws vs. Other States


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mwpslp
January 1, 2006, 12:58 PM
I have my CHL in Texas but this is the only state I have CCW in. I was wondering how Texas concealed handgun laws are compared to other states that allow concealed carry? (better, worse, about the same). I also heard that as of September 1st 2005 Texas has made it legal to carry CCW in your vehicle even without a license. I know in the past the law in Texas had some gray area about CCW in a vehicle stating that you had to be "traveling" with an overnight stay, etc. etc. etc. but that this new law does away with all of that. Can anyone confirm this?

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dolanp
January 1, 2006, 01:10 PM
Check out this site for comparisons:
http://www.packing.org/

And yes supposedly you are 'safe' if you have a gun concealed in your car and meet all of the statutory requirements for traveling but some DAs have threatened prosecution so it's still a little iffy.

M2 Carbine
January 1, 2006, 01:13 PM
I have my CHL in Texas but this is the only state I have CCW in. I was wondering how Texas concealed handgun laws are compared to other states that allow concealed carry? (better, worse, about the same). I also heard that as of September 1st 2005 Texas has made it legal to carry CCW in your vehicle even without a license. I know in the past the law in Texas had some gray area about CCW in a vehicle stating that you had to be "traveling" with an overnight stay, etc. etc. etc. but that this new law does away with all of that. Can anyone confirm this?

A friend just renewed his CHL instructor's license.

The "new law" allowing carry in vehicles by assuming you are a traveler is a mess. Basically it puts the burden of proof on the state to prove you ARE NOT a traveler.
The problem is, my friend was told in Austin by the DPS, some jurisdictions have already come out and said they would arrest anyone caught with a handgun in the car and no CHL.

And you know if some county LEO arrests you they are going to try everything possible to make it look like a good bust.

I think that is 180 out from the intent of the law but the politicians left a big hole in the law.

It will probably play out in the courts, costing some people a lot of money, win or lose.

TallPine
January 1, 2006, 01:50 PM
I guess I don't see how Texas is all that "gun friendly" unless you compare it to CA or IL or NJ.

In Montana for instance, you can carry a gun in a vehicle without a permit. Open carry is legal (though not sure how that goes over in the bigger towns), and you can carry concealed outside of city limits. Permits are "shall issue"

Of course, Alaska and Vermont are even better than MT concerning CCW.

outofbattery
January 1, 2006, 01:53 PM
Firearms laws overall are better in TX than MA but since the subject is CCW,the biggest differences are: here whether or not you are granted a Class A LTC All Lawful Purposes card depends upon your local CLEO.My town is for all intents and purposes "shall issue" but many places are not.You need to have a permit to posess a handgun at all and even though you may obtain what is called a "license to carry" it may be issued "for target use only" which precludes actual carry.When one has an ALP LTC,your handgun must be carried on your person in your car;actually,the law says "under your direct control".The single advantage of carry here is that it is far less restricted than in many "more free" states as we do not have the 30-06 signs,it is lawful to carry in places that serve alcohol and have I ever seen a business with a sign that says concealed handguns aren't allowed.

SomeKid
January 1, 2006, 02:34 PM
Depends who the 'other state' is.

VS TN, they suck. VS say, South Carolina or Georgia, they are average. VS any may issue, they are good.

fjolnirsson
January 1, 2006, 03:49 PM
I guess I don't see how Texas is all that "gun friendly" unless you compare it to CA or IL or NJ.


Yep. Too many restrictions for my taste. Well, actually, anything other than Vermont type carry has too many restrictions for my taste, but....

Per Oregon law, there are only three places I can't carry:courthouses, jails, and state parks. If I carry on posted private property and refuse to leave when asked, I can be charged with trespass. Other than that, no worries.
As has been said, Tx law is good when compared to some, not so good when compared to others.

jeremywills
January 1, 2006, 03:56 PM
FWIW TX is pretty much still Pro Gun. Some form of a CCW law is better than none at all. Its only illegal to carry if theres a properly posted 30-06 sign on the entrance to a building. These No Smoking circle pictures with a Revolver in them are crap if not accompanied with the 30-06 signage in the appropiate size and exact wordage.

Just be grateful they will even allow CHL in Texas or anywhere that does for that matter. Its a shame that those Bill of Rights are slowly slipping away from us it seems.

FWIW, I agree with some of the restrictions but some of them are poo poo if you ask me, I guess you get the good with the bad. I sure as hell don't want to allow some folks to have loaded weapons of any kind in thier hands, so as sad as it is, some form of a law is nessecary.

TallPine
January 1, 2006, 04:44 PM
I sure as hell don't want to allow some folks to have loaded weapons of any kind in thier hands, so as sad as it is, some form of a law is nessecary.

And you think laws will fix that ...? :confused:

jamz
January 1, 2006, 04:55 PM
I also really like states that make "concealment" legally optional and not mandatory. As I understand TX law, concealment is the law, and printing can lead to arrest. A lot of other stated, it just doesn't matter.

My state, Maine, is shall issue, no real hoops to jump through, you can carry open or whatever, and the only thing that bugs me about Maine law is the fac that you can't carry in schools. Legally. ;)

I've open carried a S&W 629, older model, and no one cares.

-James

Azrael256
January 1, 2006, 05:10 PM
As I understand TX law, concealment is the law, and printing can lead to arrest. A lot of other stated, it just doesn't matter That's the biggest thing about our CHL laws that bother me. I think our next step in TX should be open, unlicensed carry. I wouldn't try to mess with the CHL stuff just yet, but open carry would be a good step.

As an aside, you are supposed to keep the weapon concealed from "ordinary observation." It can print, it just can't be obvious that it's a gun. Either Texans are really good at concealing, or LE just doesn't care because it never comes up.

JohnKSa
January 1, 2006, 05:41 PM
It can print, it just can't be obvious that it's a gun. Either Texans are really good at concealing, or LE just doesn't care because it never comes up."it never comes up" is the bottom line. I have NEVER heard of anyone even so much as getting hassled for printing.The "new law" allowing carry in vehicles by assuming you are a traveler is a mess. Basically it puts the burden of proof on the state to prove you ARE NOT a traveler.
The problem is, my friend was told in Austin by the DPS, some jurisdictions have already come out and said they would arrest anyone caught with a handgun in the car and no CHL.That is correct--the new law does NOT change the legality of carrying a handgun without a CHL. You are still only legally allowed to carry in your vehicle without a CHL if you are travelling.

The new law merely changes the burden of proof from the citizen to the state. In other words, instead of presuming guilt and requiring the citizen to prove innocence, the new law presumes innocence and requires the state to prove guilt.

You can STILL be arrested and prosecuted for carrying a gun in the car without a CHL, it's just not as likely as it used to be, and it's now a bit harder for the state to prove you're guilty. (They didn't really have to before.)

NorthernExtreme
January 1, 2006, 05:56 PM
I live in Alaska, and every place but Vermont has a long way to go. :evil:

Good luck!

Azrael256
January 1, 2006, 06:17 PM
"it never comes up" is the bottom line. I have NEVER heard of anyone even so much as getting hassled for printing. According to DPS, there were 25 convictions in 2001 for "unlawfully carrying handgun by license holder." The Title 10 Ch. 46 also covers carrying in a bar, school, prison, etc., so it's hard to tell from that statistic just who got convicted for what. It also doesn't say whether it's the felony (bars, prisons), or the misdemeanor (everything else). I would guess that the vast majority of the convictions are for alcohol, either for entering a bar, or being drunk.

Anyway, "it never comes up" is exactly the point. I have seen two events wherein a CHL holder was approached by police for printing. One was the holder's father, who happened to be a cop, and the other was a friend who was politely informed by a Dallas officer that it might behoove him to pull his shirt down a little farther. The law says that you have to intentionally fail to conceal to commit a crime (otherwise it's an administrative offense), so your shirt riding up a little on a IWB concealment holster, or the wind blowing your unbuttoned jacked open to reveal your shoulder holster isn't a criminal offense.

Standing Wolf
January 1, 2006, 06:43 PM
I live in Alaska, and every place but Vermont has a long way to go.

Wyoming is taking steps in that general direction. Cops and prosecutors, of course, are adamantly opposed.

It amazes me that open carry isn't legal in Texas.

TallPine
January 1, 2006, 07:08 PM
Wyoming is taking steps in that general direction. Cops and prosecutors, of course, are adamantly opposed.
IIRC, the legislator that introduced that bill is a prosecutor :p

It was in the Billings Gazette a few days ago.

Car Knocker
January 1, 2006, 07:43 PM
I live in Alaska, and every place but Vermont has a long way to go. :evil:

Unfortunately, I believe Alaskans can't legally carry in schools or school parking lots and grounds, bars, rest homes or child-care facilities, or domestic violence/sexual abuse shelters.

LawDog
January 1, 2006, 07:50 PM
Remembering that Texas restricts handguns. There are little or no restrictions on carrying rifles and shotguns.

As far as Texas weapons laws go, some friends of mine and I are trying to get our local Congressthing to amend 46.02 of the Penal Code by adding the highlighted text: 46.02. UNLAWFUL CARRYING WEAPONS.
(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly
carries on or about his person a handgun, illegal knife, or club while committing an assault or felony, or with the intent to commit an assault or felony.

*shrug* Haven't gotten very far yet, but we're patient.

LawDog

JohnKSa
January 1, 2006, 09:21 PM
Lawdog,

Try contacting Alice Tripp with the TSRA and give her your suggestion. She would also be likely to know if there are any other similar proposals being considered, or in the works.

Hawkmoon
January 1, 2006, 09:42 PM
Texas also has some rather restrictive/extensive requirements that must be met before they will issue a CCW permit. States with less restrictive requirements don't seem to be plagued by huge numbers of accidental/negligent shootings by CCW holders with less extensive training, yet Texas won't offer reciprocity to states that don't generally "equal" their training requirements.

I'm sure there are those who will say that training is good, we don't want untrained people wandering around wearing GUNS ... but there's no training requirement in the 2nd Amendment that I have been able to find.

LawDog
January 1, 2006, 10:34 PM
but there's no training requirement in the 2nd Amendment that I have been able to find.

Just playing Devil's Advocate, but an argument can be made that well-regulated refers to training.

LawDog

wdlsguy
January 1, 2006, 10:46 PM
... Texas won't offer reciprocity to states that don't generally "equal" their training requirements.

Not any more, only a background check is required:

Texas Government Code § 411.173. NONRESIDENT LICENSE.
...
(b) The governor shall negotiate an agreement with any other state that provides for the issuance of a license to carry a concealed handgun under which a license issued by the other state is recognized in this state or shall issue a proclamation that a license issued by the other state is recognized in this state if the attorney general of the State of Texas determines that a background check of each applicant for a license issued by that state is conducted by state or local authorities or an agent of the state or local authorities before the license is issued to determine the applicants' eligibility to possess a firearm under federal law.
...

MechAg94
January 1, 2006, 10:59 PM
yet Texas won't offer reciprocity to states that don't generally "equal" their training requirements.
Which states are you talking about? Texas has reciprocity with over 30 states.

MechAg94
January 1, 2006, 11:01 PM
One other thing to remember is that the Texas Legislature is only in session for about 6 months every two years aside from occasional special sessions. It can take a little time to get changes made. :)

carnaby
January 2, 2006, 12:23 AM
Oregon and Washington are pretty good. Washington requires nothing more than going down and filling out a form (with fingerprints). Oregon requires a safety class, but Oregon has the least restrictions of any state I've seen on where you can or cannot carry. You can even carry legally in a pulbic elementary schoolin Oregon.

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
January 2, 2006, 03:55 PM
One other thing to remember is that the Texas Legislature is only in session for about 6 months every two years aside from occasional special sessions. It can take a little time to get changes made. :)


Given our state legislature, that's not always a bad thing.


Regards,
Rabbit.

MechAg94
January 2, 2006, 04:18 PM
Yes, I wish we could do that to the US Congress. Get those slugs out of D.C. for a while.

Texas is generally majority conservative, but there is a large minority of liberals here. It has take time over the last 15 years to push the original CHL law through and start making other changes. Hell, it was only in the 80's that we were still a Democrat state. I think the combo of Gov. Anne Richards and Bill Clinton finally sunk the Dems at the state level here.

The Texas State Rifle Association has some pretty good people working for us. They and some good legislators are fighting off stupid laws and pushing for positive change every session. The TSRA's newsletter summarizes the legislative efforts pretty good. I like them as well since they don't ask for money very often and even then just for a little bit. They can a neat Calendar as well. :)

El Tejon
January 2, 2006, 04:40 PM
Hawkmoon, not so, on November 2, 2005 Texas recognized licenses from Indiana, a state which requires no training.

msip, not so good as compared to up here, but the good news is that it's improving for you. That's progress; let's hope Texas and all states get a lot more progressive.:D

jeremywills
January 2, 2006, 07:47 PM
I think the combo of Gov. Anne Richards and Bill Clinton finally sunk the Dems at the state level here.



Sadly this comment is just too true :(

She was pretty useless if you ask me.

MechAg94
January 2, 2006, 08:59 PM
Since you are sad, are there any State level Dems you like? Most I see that are left are of the gun grabbing liberal variety. It would be nice if moderate/progressive Dems would get some of their party back.

gaston_45
January 2, 2006, 11:48 PM
fjolnirsson, actually, state parks in oregon are not off limits. Their website used to say they were but OFF cleared that up and the parks department removed the statement and appologized. Also, it is only the secure areas of a jail that are off limits, our sheriff's office is downstairs in the jail and that part is not off limits to carry.

One little known thing that IS off limits and is listed in ORS 821.240 is that it's illegal to carry a loaded weapon on an atv, no exception is listed for concealed carry licensees so that is off limits. It is listed as a class B traffic violation so it appears it isn't even a misdemenor.

Zundfolge
January 3, 2006, 12:38 AM
Compared to Colorado, Texas' CCW permit sucks.

Compared to Kansas (where I lived most of my life) Texas' CCW permit is wonderful.

More and more I feel spoiled living here in Colorado ... other than VT/AK carry, I haven't seen another state with overall better CCW than here (of course I don't live in Denver, and avoid the place as much as possible).

TC-TX
January 3, 2006, 02:26 AM
Texas Law has always provided a proviso - a Defense To Prosecution - in Vehicular Concealed Weapons Cases brought before the courts for prosecution.

The LAWFUL Carrying of a firearm while traveling in a motor vehicle in the State of Texas has ALWAYS been protected by this proviso. The proviso was the term TRAVELING. Anyone TRAVELING in the State of Texas was immune from prosecution for carrying a concealed weapon in their car - As long as they could provide proof of traveling.

The problem was that the term 'traveling' - prior to HB 823 - was, at best, vague and ambiguous. Overnight stays, crossing county lines and other dependencies left to much of the interpretation of the terms and dependencies to local law enforcement. That is no longer the case.

HB 823 merely Defines the term Traveling.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1. Section 46.15, Penal Code, is amended by adding Subsection (i) to read as follows:
(i) For purposes of Subsection (b)(3), a person is presumed to be traveling if the person is:
(1) in a private motor vehicle;
(2) not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic;
(3) not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm;
(4) not a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01; and
(5) not carrying a handgun in plain view.
There are additional added Presumptions at the conclusion of the Bill - relating to the applicability of the offense of unlawful carrying of weapons to certain persons and to the consequence of certain presumptions in the prosecution of a criminal offense - but are there merely to define the clauses listed above.

And YES - the presumption of innocence in any question to the above clauses trumps all.

Sam Adams
January 3, 2006, 12:43 PM
These No Smoking circle pictures with a Revolver in them are crap if not accompanied with the 30-06 signage in the appropiate size and exact wordage.

How big must the sign be to handle all of the language (in English & Spanish)? There's a sign with the 30.06 language at a local building that I visit quite often (in San Antonio), but the sign is only about 12"x10". I don't think that it is enough - what are your thoughts?

TallPine
January 3, 2006, 12:55 PM
More and more I feel spoiled living here in Colorado ... other than VT/AK carry, I haven't seen another state with overall better CCW than here
I think Montana might be considered slightly better.

And from what I have heard, getting a CCW permit in New Hampshire is about like getting a license for your dog :)

wdlsguy
January 3, 2006, 01:01 PM
How big must the sign be to handle all of the language (in English & Spanish)?

Not sure how big a sign would need to be, but the law specifies "block letters at least one inch in height".

Sam Adams
January 3, 2006, 02:03 PM
I found the following: http://www.tsra.com/Sign3006.htm

The sign apparently has to be between 2 & 3 square feet to fit all of the required verbiage.

Big Gay Al
January 3, 2006, 03:04 PM
Anyway, "it never comes up" is exactly the point. I have seen two events wherein a CHL holder was approached by police for printing. One was the holder's father, who happened to be a cop, and the other was a friend who was politely informed by a Dallas officer that it might behoove him to pull his shirt down a little farther. The law says that you have to intentionally fail to conceal to commit a crime (otherwise it's an administrative offense), so your shirt riding up a little on a IWB concealment holster, or the wind blowing your unbuttoned jacked open to reveal your shoulder holster isn't a criminal offense.Here in Michigan, it's NO offense at all. Which I suppose makes sense, since open carry is also legal here. ;)

Big Gay Al
January 3, 2006, 03:05 PM
I think Montana might be considered slightly better.

And from what I have heard, getting a CCW permit in New Hampshire is about like getting a license for your dog :)
You mean I gotta get a rabies shot before I can get my CCW? ;)

ball3006
January 3, 2006, 03:41 PM
a handgun without a CHL? Just carry a shotgun or rifle........I see no problems with the TX CHL. I have been carrying since the license went into effect......One thing my CHL has done is to cut out having a beer after work or when out for dinner and such. I NEVER drink and drive now.........besides, drinks are alot cheaper at home.......chris3

Brad Johnson
January 3, 2006, 04:12 PM
Texas also has some rather restrictive/extensive requirements that must be met before they will issue a CCW permit.

Not really. For the most part if you can pass a NICS check you are okay on the CHL. No felonies, no violent misdemeanors, no back taxes, no unpaid child support, and no pending litigation. The best part is that the CHL allows you to fill out the 4473 and walk out with your gun without having to stand there and wait for the stupid NICS phone call. The worst part is that the background check will flag you on the fed homeland security computers. Since getting my CHL I have yet to board a plane without being subjected to the uber-tactical-air-nazi search. It seems to be a trend for me and my fellow permit holders regardless of state. Sigh.

The initial class, while required, is easily completed in a day and is just a recitation of the legal obligations of CHL holders (mostly about where you can or can't carry, and when you are justified in using deadly force). The shooting qualifications are simple. I've seen grannies with NO previous gun experience pass it with flying colors. The renewal class is only four hours and consists of a quick brushup on laws and any changes. Most instructors combine the classes and the qualifying sessions into one pleasant day.

The single best aspect of the Texas CHL is that the Texas DPS troopers know you are one of the good guys. It's the next best thing to a get-out-of-ticket-free card I've ever had. I don't drive like a maniac, but I do tend to pushe the envelope a bit on speed. Since getting my CHL I have yet to receive anything more stern than a written warning. In fact, most stops end with the trooper immediately handing back my license and CHL and telling me to "slow it down a little and have a nice day."

Brad

CatsDieNow
January 3, 2006, 04:33 PM
I have never recieved the patdown from the TSA goons. Probably just coincidence or some other guy with the same name is a "person of interest" on the secret, magic list.

My main compliant with the TX permit was the expense. Approx $250 total for TX and $25 for IN. I actually didn't mind the class so much because the laws are different here than in Indiana and it was nice to get them spelled out for me.

While I don't believe in a shooting test - seriously, if you can't pass the Texas test, you really don't have any business owning a gun.

Sam Adams
January 3, 2006, 06:26 PM
My main compliant with the TX permit was the expense. Approx $250 total for TX and $25 for IN. I actually didn't mind the class so much because the laws are different here than in Indiana and it was nice to get them spelled out for me.

I agree...the idea of getting a permit to exercise a right is outrageous, but go fight it in court. Practically speaking, at this point in time that arguement is a loser. That being said, the $140 for the (initial) license is absurd, plus you have to pay for the class. I just got a NH non-resident carry license, to be able to carry in Alabama, and it was $20 and about 2 weeks worth of waiting.

While I don't believe in a shooting test - seriously, if you can't pass the Texas test, you really don't have any business owning a gun.

While that's true, I still don't want someone (especially a government someone) to tell me when I'm in my 80's that I can't own a gun because I'm too old or whatever. That's the time when my guns will be used for something other than putting holes in paper or breaking clay pigeons.

Herself
January 3, 2006, 09:11 PM
If loss of ability due to age is an issue, get an Indiana carry permit! No proficiency test is required. Indiana's permit system is one of the oldest and despite a few quirks it's one of the least restrictive

Getting IN permit does not seem to have put me on the TSA list, either. They do always do through my checked luggage in great detail. I suspect it has more to do with the dozen or so books and interesting electronic devices that I usually carry. That stuff probably looks pretty suspicious on the x-ray!

--Herself

Hawkmoon
January 3, 2006, 10:14 PM
Just playing Devil's Advocate, but an argument can be made that well-regulated refers to training.

LawDog
That argument has been made, but inasmuch as the reference is part of the prefatory clause, the experts in English (even those who don't like the 2nd Amendment) agree that it does not affect the main clause.

Hawkmoon
January 3, 2006, 10:20 PM
The initial class, while required, is easily completed in a day and is just a recitation of the legal obligations of CHL holders (mostly about where you can or can't carry, and when you are justified in using deadly force). The shooting qualifications are simple. I've seen grannies with NO previous gun experience pass it with flying colors. The renewal class is only four hours and consists of a quick brushup on laws and any changes. Most instructors combine the classes and the qualifying sessions into one pleasant day.
My state is not generally considered to be among the most gun-fiendly, but our required class is only a half day (unless the individual instructor chooses to run it longer), and there is no requalification required to renew the license. To me, that makes Texas' requirements appear restrictive.

JohnKSa
January 3, 2006, 11:11 PM
HB 823 merely Defines the term Traveling.That is not correct. HB 823 does not define traveling.

It merely requires that if found with a gun in the car, the officer is to PRESUME you are traveling in the absence of evidence to the contrary. Here is a link and some direct quotes from one of the legislators who crafted the law.

http://www.tsra.com/HB823_Keel.htm
In enacting HB 823, the 79th legislature, like all previous legislatures, declined to define traveling as a narrow set of particular circumstances. ... HB 823 does not give “everyone the right to carry a gun in a car”. HB 832 does NOTHING to change the legality of carrying a gun in the car in TX. It simply requires the officer to presume your innocence unless there is evidence to the contrary.

TC-TX
January 4, 2006, 12:12 AM
JohnKSa -

Perhaps it is better characterized as Defining a Traveler...

HB 823 provides for a legal presumption in favor of citizens that they are travelers
Either way - It is a Defense To Prosecution - which is an after-the-fact provision.

Enjoy!

JohnKSa
January 4, 2006, 12:43 AM
Well, sorta, I guess...

Really, rather than defining anything, it's simply stating that unless the state can prove otherwise, it must PRESUME that you are travelling.

It's not saying what a traveller is, or what travelling is, it just says that WHATEVER those things are, if you're in your car with a concealed handgun, the officer should assume you're innocent and let you go unless there is other evidence of criminal activity.

So, while the old traveling law was a defense to prosecution, the new law is a presumption of innocence. It is designed to prevent the arrest and prosecution of a citizen found to have a handgun in the car but not found to be committing any other crimes--to keep people from ever getting into court in the first place.

Zundfolge
January 4, 2006, 01:25 AM
I think Montana might be considered slightly better.

And from what I have heard, getting a CCW permit in New Hampshire is about like getting a license for your dog :)
Hmm ... Montana CCW is less expensive, however you can't carry in banks (which is just stupid) and bars (in Colorado you can CCW in a bar and even have a drink as long as you aren't "under the infuence").

It does look like the New Hampshire CCW is slightly better than Colorado (pretty much identical except that there is no training requirement and its only $10 for 4 years!).

Only thing better about Colorado is that you can CCW in your car here without a license.

onerifle
January 4, 2006, 01:26 AM
On the 'traveling" provision...

http://www.tsra.com/HB823_Keel.htm

TO:Media

FROM:Terry Keel, State Representative, Austin

RE:HB 823 by Keel, Effective 9/1/05

Clarifies Right to Carry Handgun in Vehicle While Traveling

DATE:August 30, 2005

PRESS RELEASE



It is well established in Texas that a person who is traveling has a right to possess a handgun for personal protection. The practical problem with this right has historically been that courts have disagreed on the definition of “traveling”. The legislature has likewise never defined “traveling” because a definition invariably has the unintended effect of unfairly limiting the term to a narrow set of circumstances.

HB 823 becomes effective September 1, 2005, shoring up the right of citizens to carry a concealed handgun while traveling. There have been many inquiries to my office from citizens and media regarding the upcoming change in the law and what it means.

HB 823 provides for a legal presumption in favor of citizens that they are travelers if they are in a private vehicle with a handgun that is not in plain view, they are not otherwise engaged in unlawful activity nor otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, and they are not a member of a criminal street gang.

In plain terms, a law-abiding person should not fear arrest if they are transporting a concealed pistol in a motor vehicle. There is no longer the need for a law enforcement officer to apply a subjective definition of what constitutes “traveling” where the citizen is cloaked with the presumption per the terms of the new statute. Under those circumstances the citizen should be allowed to proceed on their way.

HB 823 represents the first time a presumption has been crafted in favor of a defendant in the modern penal code of Texas. The presumption applies unless the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the facts giving rise to the presumption do not exist. [b]If the state fails to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the facts giving rise to the presumption do not exist, the jury must find that the presumed fact exists. By enacting this evidentiary standard in conjunction with the presumption, the legislation is intended to have the practical effect of preventing in the first place the arrest of citizens who meet the newly specified prerequisites of being a presumed traveler.

It should be noted that the very real problem of citizens having to prove their innocence after arrest by the assertion of their right to carry a firearm while traveling was the reason for a 1997 legislative change which replaced the “defense” of traveling with a classification of the statute of UCW as instead entirely “inapplicable” to a traveler. This change was well-intentioned but did not have the intended effect of protecting honest citizens from potential arrest because the term “traveling” was still left to individual police or judicial officials to define on a case-by-case basis. As a consequence, law-abiding citizens who availed themselves of their right to have a handgun while traveling continued to face arrest and often later prevailed only in a court of law after proving that they were indeed traveling.

In enacting HB 823, the 79th legislature, like all previous legislatures, declined to define traveling as a narrow set of particular circumstances. For example, to require someone to have an overnight stay in a journey in order to be classified as a traveler would be unfair to persons traveling great distances in one day. Likewise, a requirement that a citizen be “crossing county lines” may make no sense, such as in areas of Texas where travelers drive hundreds of miles without leaving a single county. Moreover, the ability of police to elicit such evidence and consistently apply its subjective terms on the street in a traffic stop has not proven practical, at all. The new statute instead focuses on a defined set of relevant, objective facts that are capable of being determined on the spot by law officers.

There are several additional important points that should be made in regard to the enactment of HB 823 and its interface with current law.

HB 823 does not give “everyone the right to carry a gun in a car”. State and federal laws applicable to firearms must be noted in conjunction with the new statute’s terms, particularly the limitation of the presumption to persons who are “not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.” For example, persons subject to an active protective order are not covered by the presumption, nor are persons with any felony conviction or even some misdemeanor convictions for offenses, e.g., family violence. The presumption is likewise inapplicable to persons associated with a criminal street gang, even if they have no conviction for any offense. These as well as all other existing limitations on firearm ownership and/or possession make the new statute inapplicable to persons covered by such prohibitions.

Furthermore, as stated in the statute, the presumption will not apply to persons who are otherwise engaged in any criminal conduct. This would include persons who are driving while intoxicated, driving recklessly, committing criminal mischief, or committing any other criminal offense outside that of a minor traffic infraction.



The presumption also does not apply where the gun is openly displayed.



The enactment of HB 823 was the culmination of study, committee hearings and debate by the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. I am confident that the new law will assist law enforcement in doing its job while at the same time protecting law-abiding citizens from the threat of arrest for merely exercising their right to arm themselves while traveling----a right to which they are already entitled.

For further information, contact State Representative Terry Keel, 512-463-0652.

onerifle
January 4, 2006, 01:28 AM
That said....

DA opposed to new handgun law
Pistol-toting drivers without a permit will still be prosecuted, Rosenthal warns

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/3330553.html
By CLAY ROBISON
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau


AUSTIN - Motorists arrested for carrying pistols in their cars without a concealed handgun license will continue to be prosecuted in Houston, despite a new law that purports to give them a legal defense, Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said Monday.

Although the sponsor said the law should reduce the number of arrests for unlawful handgun possession, Rosenthal said it won't change enforcement practices in Houston after it goes into effect on Thursday.

"It is still going to be against the law for (unlicensed) persons to carry handguns in autos," the district attorney said, adding that the new legal defense can still be challenged by prosecutors.

The new law, enacted during the regular legislative session last spring, seeks to clarify a longtime law that allowed Texans to carry handguns while traveling, a qualification that was subject to a number of inconsistent court interpretations over the years.

The new statute says a person is "presumed to be traveling" if he or she is in a private vehicle, is not engaged in criminal activity (except for a minor traffic offense), is not prohibited by any other law from possessing a firearm and is not a member of a criminal street gang.

It also requires the handgun to be concealed in the car, although weapons can be discovered by officers during routine traffic stops if a driver gives permission for a car to be searched or opens a glove compartment where a gun is secured to retrieve an insurance card or other documentation.

"The intent of the law is to keep innocent people from going to jail," said the sponsor, Rep. Terry Keel, R-Austin, a former prosecutor and former Travis County sheriff who now is a candidate for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

The law, House Bill 823, was supported by the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union and opposed by various law-enforcement groups.

More than 237,000 Texans have concealed handgun licenses. But many other law-abiding adults don't have licenses because they are disqualified by exceptions that have nothing to do with public safety, said Alice Tripp, a lobbyist for the Texas State Rifle Association, an NRA affiliate.

Tripp said people who have defaulted on student loans, who owe the state sales tax or franchise tax payments or are behind in child support payments are ineligible to receive a license.

Keel said he hoped the law will prompt police officers to think twice about arresting motorists who meet the new legal presumption and spare them the expense and "indignity" of arrest and prosecution.

Otherwise, he said, "They basically are going to arrest innocent people and make them prove their innocence."

Rosenthal and Rob Kepple, executive director of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, disagreed.

Rosenthal said the new presumption about "traveling" doesn't define what constitutes traveling and can be challenged in court by prosecutors, leaving it to juries to decide verdicts "based upon the facts of the case."

A prosecutor could summon witnesses to successfully argue that a defendant wasn't traveling because he was simply "driving around the corner for a carton of milk," Kepple said.

"I really don't think (the law) should affect how police officers respond in arresting somebody," he added.

Houston Police Department spokeswoman Johanna Abad indicated Houston police were going to take their advice from Rosenthal's office.

Unlawful possession of a weapon is a class A misdemeanor punishable by as much as one year in county jail and a $4,000 fine. Rosenthal said most cases are resolved through plea bargains.

The prosecutor said he asked Gov. Rick Perry to veto the bill because "taking weapons off the street is a pretty good deal." He said his office handled about 5,000 weapons cases of varying degrees of severity last year.

Tripp called Rosenthal's opposition a case of "sour grapes ... and a threat to the general public."

CatsDieNow
January 4, 2006, 10:01 AM
Sam,

I did the same thing and got a NH permit before TX reciprocated with CO.

As I said, I don't believe that a shooting test should be required. However, I have heard of people failing the easy TX shooting test and that is somewhat scary. If you can't hit what you are aiming at, then other than bluffing/brandishing what good is that gun to you?

Herself,

Unfortunatly, my IN permit is no longer valid now that I live in TX. One of the differences between your permit and mine is that mine allows me to bypass the NICS check. You have that open carry thing going for you, though. I have always said that Texans THINK that they have decent gun laws when in reality, I came from a place where they were much better (and cheaper).

MechAg94
January 4, 2006, 02:43 PM
Texans Do have descent gun laws, but other states have better laws. Okay. I honestly don't know why people are knocking Texas when there are states that are much worse. I do wish they would make the traveling law simpler to help my Mother at least.

My CHL here also qualifies as the shooting activity for the CMP since it includes range time. The lack of NICS call on purchases is also very handy when you are at the gun show late in the day.

I have never been super-searched boarding a plane though I have only flown a few times. I guess once I forgot to pull my laptop out of the bag and they had to pull everything out. Maybe it was because I forgot to pull that ID out at the checkpoint.

I did get told to slow down and stop following so close once. Not even a warning ticket. :)

Drysdale
January 4, 2006, 02:57 PM
Compared to Colorado, Texas' CCW permit sucks.

Yeah, but try to own an AR-15 in Denver...

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