What the hell is going on with these fooking gun haters???
As a reference, the new law is clarified here by a former procecuter: Clarifies Right to Carry Handgun in Vehicle While Traveling
Pistol-toting drivers without a permit will still be prosecuted, Rosenthal warns
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."
This is a dupe. And no matter what the intent of the legistlators was this session, the only thing they did was to shift the burden of proof from the defendent to the prosecutor. The new law offers a presumption of travelling that it is the state's responsibility to overcome. A prosecutor could argue (possibly successfully) that "going down the street to get eggs" isn't travelling.
I suspect that it'll take one more legislative session to actually clear this up.
I posted this question a minute ago in another thread before seeing this one. So, can we carry in a car without a CHL or not?
Or you could claim you were going to the range. Ironically, the last time I got pulled over, I was 200 yards away from the skeet range I was heading to. The trooper asked the obligatory "Where you headed?".. I just pointed and I could tell he had to catch himself before he asked the obligatory "Do you have any guns?" question.
"Nope, officer, I was just gonna throw rocks at the targets today.....Heere's your sign."
"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."
Just another way for the county and attorney's to make more money. And you to be convivted so you can never have a CHL..........hiel !
Agreed. "Officer, have nothing illegal in my vehicle, am I free to go?'
The Texas State Rifle and Pistol Assoc has a page concerning this at:
The meat and potatoes is:
" TSRA believes it is appropriate to alert our membership to the following:
1. If you hold a valid Texas driver’s license and have no outstanding or alias traffic citations that have gone into warrant status, and you are stopped for a routine traffic violation, you need only to furnish your driver’s license, insurance card AND concealed handgun license if you are carrying your handgun, to the officer.
2. If you are carrying a handgun in your vehicle under the authority granted by the new law, HB823, and do not have a concealed handgun license, you are not required to furnish more than your driver’s license and insurance card. You should not consent to a search of your vehicle and you should not engage in conversation with the officer as to whether or not you are in possession of a firearm or discuss where you were going or coming from.
Based on the reports in the media, it is the position of Mr. Rosenthal, your Harris County District Attorney, that if you are enroute from your home to the grocery store, for example, you are not “traveling” and thus, will be prosecuted if you have a handgun in your vehicle and do not possess a concealed handgun license.
Until such time as the courts rule on just what the new state law created by HB823 means or the district attorneys around the State decide to afford this new law an opportunity to work, it is recommended that you should follow the following steps when stopped on traffic violations:
1. Be polite to the officer.
2. Furnish your driver’s license and insurance card.
3. Furnish your CHL if you hold one and are carrying.
4. Do not consent to a search of your vehicle.
5. Do not engage in conversation with the officer other than to confirm your identity.
6. If issued a traffic citation, accept it without comment or any indication of hostility.
7. In the event you are placed under arrest and taken into custody, decline to make any statement until you have had an opportunity to consult with an attorney. "
I have to admit that this is the ONE thing that Louisiana has over Texas. Why can we not get some sensible laws like the 'Miss Louisiana Law'(aka shoot the car jacker) like they have in Louisiana??
Isn't it time that we took off the shackles that they put on us during the 'Reconstruction'?? D@#%, this is fucking stupid.
I agree that it's B.S. when the new law is worded in such a way that it's still "double talk", and can mean two opposing things. According to Chuck Rosenthal in Harris County, this law didn't change a thing, and I have to agree with them after reading it enough times.
Why can't they just redifine or clarify "traveling" rather than using vague wording to manuever a work-around the existing law?
Since I do not have a carry permit yet, I'm always worried just to stop at a gas (beer, alchohol) station to fill up on my way to the gun range, in fear that I may be arrested.
To sum it all up, law enforcement doesn't want you to be able to "carry" in a vehicle unless you have gone through background checks. In fact, there may be some merit to this argument, unless you have been un-rightfully accused of spousal abuse, etc.
Even CHL holders could be caught by that. A CHL only covers handguns, so if you have a long arm in your car, theoretically you could be considered carrying a firearm in a place that sells alcoholic beverages, a felony. You probably wouldn't be prosecuted unless you carried the longarm inside the building, but who knows?