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Thread: Need the Forum's help in a TX CONCEALED (!) handgun point of law...

  1. #1
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    I know this is in re: to Texas "CONCEALED" carry handgun law, but I need some help from TEXANS about gun law and there are Texans here, so I thought I'd ask...please forgive me for asking about CONCEALED matters.

    I just had my TX CHL class today...just got home. Something I read and heard today in class was news to me and I thought it was wrong -- or superceded/revised --but it wasstated in the TX Concealed Handgun Laws 2007-2008version booklet (the "FAQ" section, pages 71-72) we received as part of our class packet, as well as seen in the online 2009 version TX Concealed Handgun Laws booklet "FAQ" at the TX DPS/CHL website (pages 71-71).

    IHAD THOUGHT that if you were in your car -- CHL person or not -- you could have your gun within arm's reach -- like on the seat next to you -- as long as it was (1) covered/concealed, (2) you were not a gangster, and (3) were not engaged in criminal activity...and of course otherwise legally able to own a handgun. But the CHL instructor said if it was within your reach and did not require a "material change of body position" to get to it, it was considered "carrying" and had to be in the back seat (out of reach) or somewhere that required "a material changeof body position" in order to get to it.

    I am not sure she meant this applied to a CHL holder (someone licensed) or a person NOT a CHL holder (UNlicensed) with a handgun in his/her own car (but still legally allowed toown a firearm) as I THOUGHT that a handgun inside your car -- since the "clarification" of "traveling" in TX a while back -- was like a gun inside your home: you could "carry" it anywhere inside your car, on the seat next to you or not, with no requirement of "a material change of body postion" to get to it, and whether you were a CHL person or not.

    SoI HAD THOUGHT one could carry a handgun in your car ANYWHERE inside said car, whether it was accessible to you or not accessible to you...but was told that in order NOT be considering "carrying," the gun required a "material change in body position" to reach it...or you had to keep itin a locked glovebox, etc.

    So I am just not understanding this right?

    Is it some "gray area" even after the "travelling clarification" we saw a while back?

    Whether one has a CHL or not, is a handgun in the carNOT to be within arm's reach orCAN it?

    Does this issue depend on whether youare a CHL person (licensed) ora person without a CHL (unlicensed) or, as I HAD THOUGHT, it doesn't matter?

    It's inside your car, so I thought all you had to do was just meet those 3 stipulations (keep it concealed, not be a gangster, and not be engaged in criminal activity).

    So where does "a material change of body position" fit it?

    Clarifications and corrections please?

    -- John D.


    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

  2. #2
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    Your instructor was either misunderstanding the question, doing a poor job of explaining the law, or just downright wrong.

    Sec.46.02.UNLAWFUL CARRYING WEAPONS.

    (a)A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun, illegal knife, or club if the person is not:

    (1)on the person's own premises or premises under the person's control; or

    (2)inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person's control.

    (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 that is owned by the person or under the person's control at any time in which:

    (1)the handgun is in plain view; or

    (2)the person is:

    (A)engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic;

    (B)prohibited by law from possessing a firearm; or

    (C)a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01.


    In other words, the charge of Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon (PC 46.02) does not apply if you are in, or directly en route to, a motor vehicle that you own or control, so long as the handgun isn't in plain view, and you're not a criminal.



  3. #3
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    KBCraig

    Thanks for your response.

    I think the instructor was saying that with or without a CHL (or maybe WITH one -- like I said, I didn't get it) you couldn't have the handgun within arm's reach, it had to be on a back seat, in a glove compartment or some other place that would require "a material change in body position," which didn't sound right and I told her (respectfully)that I had never heard that phrase before. She got a bit annoyed with me I guess -- and I suspect some of the other CHL students (mostly women) might have thought I was being a jerk or "know it all" maybe -- but all I was trying to do was understand this "news" as I had not heard anyone (even in the assorted online gun forums including THIS one) use the term "a material change of body position" and HTHdid THAT have ANYTHING to do with the LEGAL carry of a handgun inside a car here in Texas -- by a CHL holder or a non-CHLholder -- and was not convinced by her answers.

    She made it a special point to readthat FAQ item (p.71, bottom)at least twice to me, and I told her, "Yes, I see that there and that's what it says, but on the very next page and in the next FAQitem (p.72, top)beginning with "Effective September 1, 2007..."just those 3 stipulations are given...it does not say/include the phrase"a material change in body position" so I didn't see where that hasANY bearing whatsoever, and why we can't -- future CHL holders or not -- have the gun lying (concealed) on the pasenger seat -- within easy arm's reach.

    She got a bitirritated with me (or more irritated I guess)and said, "You do whatever you want to do, but I will and I'm telling the others here to do otherwise."

    I was trying also to get a clarification because one of the other students said "We can't keep it on the seat next to us? I'm in a seatbelt and small -- I don't have the reach to be able to get to my gun if I have to twist around to get iton the back seat." So I was hoping my "discussion" (as unpleasant and awkward as it was turning out to be)with the insructor would show thatthe gundoesn't HAVE to be on the back seat, or in the glove compartment (locked or otherwise) and "a material change of body position"has nothing to do with it.

    Well, I can only hope the that other CHL students -- who may have thought I was being a jerk, as I said-- got online and lookedthe issue up, or asked someone nowledgable about it...to see that "the argumentative old guy" may have been right after all.

    On top of that, she said someother things, such as "If you kill anyone, you WILL have your gun confiscated, you WILL be arrested and you WILL be going to jail, so be prepared"...which I didn't think was true, either, since youMIGHT be arrested, depending upon the circumstance, but it is not FOR SURE you will be. And if it's a 'good shoot' you CAN get your gun back, IF they took it in the first place. So I think the instructor overstated the negativesto the point that some may believe they WILL be in bigtrouble even USING their gun, and even for a GOOD SHOOT and WILL have to spendthousands on a good lawyer as a matter of fact (she said get a real good lawyerif you're ever involved in a shooting)...which may hamper them under pressure when they are in a self-defense situation and may hesitate, thinking of the negative legal consequences that MIGHT happen and fail to act promptly to a threat/assailant -- who doesn't give a crap about ANY of that and just wants to hurt or kill you.

    As well, the instructor left out some CURRENT CHL application info (re: assorted discounts allowed to certain categories of applicants) as she was using what seemed to be DATED CHL forms which did not reflect what was showing up online at the TX/DPS/CHL website NOW.

    Teaching a CHL course is a serious responsibility, and one has to BE SURE the correct stuff is being taught.

    So to conclude, I believe you are right: I think the CHL instructor wasn't explaining it right or was just plain wrong. Or, I was just too dense to get it.

    Whatever, I thinka material change in body position should not even be in the FAQ if it brings up this kind of confusion in at least MY CHL class...although with the same instructor teaching AT LEAST one CHL class a week (sometimes more), she's telling all the other students these very same things.

    Regards,

    -- John D.

    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

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    Oh...I forgot something: Maybe things started going south with my instructor when she declared herself to be anti-OC, and cited the usual ignorant reasons THAT was a dangerous practice -- likea OCer would beassaulted by criminals because they see you're carrying, etc..

    So, I guess I wasn't popular partly because of defending OC...

    -- John D.


    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

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    The "material change in body position" sounds as if it could have come from a court ruling about what constitutes "on or about" your person. It's now irrelevant, since there's no longer a UCW charge for carrying in your vehicle.

    This instructor sounds like a real humdinger. I bet she also said it's illegal to carry after a single drop of alcohol.



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    Yes, it relates to the definition of whatcourts considered "carrying." But in a car, it seems irrelevant...so I wasn't getting her emphasis on it being applied INSIDE a car.

    No, she got that one right about drinking, just didn't recommend drinking and carrying. Neither do I!

    And she was right on most of the other stuff, too, so I don't want it to seem the course wasOVERALLwasbad or unpleasant, it's just that these 2-3 issues seemed to make ME look bad, as if I was out to cause trouble. I wasn't, but did start feeling like I was the bad guy. I'm sure she was glad THAT class was finally over!

    No one else brought up these issues and it seemed like most of the people maybe there didn't know enough to question much anyway -- so perhaps they bought everything that was said, even though EVERYONE in the class had done some amount shooting before (one woman got a perfect 250/250 qualifying, using a full-sized auto, a Beretta 92). But most OR ALL probably haven't givenmuch thought to Open Carry...andI sure wasn't goingto change the instructor's mindset on that issue. I hope, however,thatsome of my fellow CHL classmates at least will consider it now.

    Whatever, it's done with and nowI just await 6 months for the plastic...

    -- John D.

    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

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    I would HIGHLY recommend that you write a well put and cited letter to the instructors boss and possibly to the CHL Instructor Licensing division (Not sure who actually issues the instructors license, but if the class is not being taught properly, they have a duty to correct or remove her...)

    Good Luck with it!

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    Thanks, Gator, but it was an unpleasant experience and I'd preferto move on.

    I plan to take more advanced handgun courses...elsewhere!

    -- John D.
    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

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