TX DOT on Firearms
by, 07.29.2012 at 07.08 PM (1717 Views)
This morning (July 29, 2012) I got stopped for a roadside inspection. It was educational for both of us. I learned that when they are looking for a quickie inspection they target mega carriers. Our trucks are usually well cared for and compliant so they aren't worried about violations. We run e-logs so he's not worried about false logs. We're just easy targets for a quick inspection on the books. Nice.
At least I get good marks on my CSA.
So I tell him that while I gave his attention he can answer a debate that I've had a couple times this past week about the legality of carrying a gun in the truck.
He replies that in the state of Texas it is perfectly legal to carry a gun in the truck; the Castle Law extends to truck drivers. Furthermore; there is no federal law prohibiting truck drivers from carrying a gun.
I said, "Really? We're trained to think it's illegal."
He said, "Well it may be against company policy. But in the past seventeen years I've been cover-to-cover through the FMCSR and there's not a thing in it against carrying a weapon. However, STATE laws may vary. But federally, we look at it as you are engaged in interstate commerce, you are carrying important documents such as your BOL (especially important for hazmat), your state permits, your logs (which are federal documents), and to top it all off it's your home. We feel you should have the right and ability to defend all that."
He went on to say that there's also the rule in Texas that allows people to carry a gun in their vehicle while traveling. That's not a law, it's an attorney general opinion. So if some local yokel DID arrest you, you'd beat it in court.
So I ask, "Ok, well I have a felony....."
"Well your excluded."
"Well, I've long been released from supervision. Texas has restored my firearms rights in limited capacity to allow me to have a gun at home. So wouldn't the Castle Law cover me?"
He said, "I have no idea what you're talking about." So he opened his penal code book and looks up the law, I believe it's Sec. 43.4. He skims over it and says, "Huh! Well you're right. I didn't know that. I'm gonna hafta study on that a bit more." (I tried not to get the fat head. It's pretty cool when you get to school a state trooper.)
He went on to say, "You'll have to forgive me. People call me all the time with questions and I have to tell them 'I don't know. I'm a DOT enforcement officer. Transportation laws are my sole focus. So all these new state laws; I just don't have time to keep up with them.'"
So, there ya go, straight from the TX DOT man; they can't keep up with all the laws. You have to know your own stuff.