Carrying a Handgun without a CHL in Texas

Carrying a Handgun without a CHL in Texas

Is it illegal to carry a handgun in Texas without a License to Carry (formerly concealed handgun license)?

For the most recent updates regarding carrying handguns in Texas, click here. (December 2015 update.)

In Texas, if you do not have a License to Carry (formerly CHL), it is illegal to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry a handgun on or about your person unless you are on your own premises or premises under your control or inside of or directly en route to your motor vehicle or watercraft or one that is under your control.

It is also illegal to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft if the handgun is in plain view, you are engaged in criminal activity other than a Class C traffic ticket, you are otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm, or you are a member of street gang.

Where can you lawfully carry a handgun in Texas without a concealed handgun license?

  • On your own premises
  • On premises under your control
  • Inside of your own motor vehicle with the handgun out of view
  • Inside of a vehicle under your control with the handgun out of view
  • Directly en route to your own motor vehicle
  • Directly en route to a vehicle under your control

What is a permissible “premises” for purposes of carrying a handgun?

  • Real property
  • A travel trailer being used as temporary or permanent living quarters.
  • A camping trailer being used as temporary or permanent living quarters.
  • A truck camper being used as temporary or permanent living quarters.
  • A motor home being used as temporary or permanent living quarters.
  • A horse trailer with living quarters.
  • A motor vehicle primarily designed as temporary living quarters being used as temporary living quarters.
  • A motor vehicle primarily designed as temporary living quarters being used as permanent living quarters.
  • A vehicle that contains temporary living quarters and is designed to be towed by a motor vehicle being used as temporary living quarters.
  • A vehicle that contains temporary living quarters and is designed to be towed by a motor vehicle being used as permanent living quarters.
  • A boat used or capable of being used for transportation on water.
  • A motorboat used or capable of being used for transportation on water.
  • A vessel used or capable of being used for transportation on water.
  • A personal watercraft, other than a seaplane on water, used or capable of being used for transportation on water.

Texas Concealed Handgun License (aka CHL, now License to Carry) Requirements

What is the possible punishment for illegally carrying a weapon in Texas?

In general, illegally carrying a handgun without a CHL in Texas is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.  However, this punishment range is increased to a Third Degree Felony if you illegally carry a handgun on any premises licensed or issued a permit by this state for the sale of alcoholic beverages.  If charged as a felony, the range of punishment is 2 to 10 years in the penitentiary and up to a $10,000 fine.

Click here to learn more about Open Carry and Campus Carry Legislation in Texas.

Click here to learn about Unlawful Carrying of Handgun by License Holder.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you are arrested or charged for Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon, call our team of criminal defense attorneys for representation at 817-203-2220. As former prosecutors, our lawyers understand the District Attorney’s Offices position on these types of cases and how to best evaluate your options. Our Board Certified Criminal Lawyers will work through the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence against you and work to negotiate the best outcome for your specific circumstance.

About the Author
blank

Benson Varghese

Facebook Twitter Google+

Benson Varghese is the Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a state and federal practitioner who has handled thousands criminal cases and taken over 100 cases to trial by jury. Benson is frequently called upon to handle cases that require a high degree of knowledge in technology, scientific evidence, forensic evidence, as well as serious intoxication cases. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.