Say you’re heading to the gun range for an afternoon with your friends. You grab a few boxes of rounds, your favorite firearm and the cash needed to pay for the range. After shooting, you pile everything back into your car to drive home.
On the way, you get pulled over. You don’t think it’s going to be a big deal, but the officer winds up searching your car and finding the gun. You forgot to unload it before putting it back into its case when you were done at the range. Have you now broken the law?
You likely have not. This may come as a surprise if you moved to Texas from another state, as many states require people to transport only unloaded weapons unless they have a license for concealed carry. However, Texas has not done that since the Motorist Protection Act went into action back in 2007.
Where you had the gun does matter, though. If it was a handgun, you can’t carry it in the open or in plain sight. It has to be concealed. You don’t need a special license to do this, but you do have to conceal the firearm if it’s loaded.
Another thing to note is that you have to legally own the gun. You must have purchased it properly and in accordance with state laws, and you can’t be committing a crime with the loaded gun in your possession. Minor issues like speeding are fine, but more major crimes can lead to additional weapons charges. If you find yourself facing these serious charges, be sure you know your legal options.