The laws regarding gun possession in the State of Texas are among the most generous in the nation, but recent events and legislation have caused law enforcement officials to be more vigilant in making arrests for these types of violations. If you’re facing weapons charges in Texas, there are some things you should know about these laws and how you can put together a solid defense. The State of Texas allows you to openly carry a long-barrel firearm, but you need to have a permit to carry a handgun. There are also certain restrictions on where and when you can carry a handgun, even if you have a permit.
What kind of weapons are prohibited in the State of Texas?
You are prohibited to possess, manufacture, transport, repair, or sell any of the following weapons:
- Armor-piercing ammunition.
- Chemical dispensing devices.
- Explosive weapons.
- Firearm silencers.
- Machine guns.
- Short-barrel firearms.
- Tire deflation devices.
- Zip guns.
Charges surrounding this law can range from Class A misdemeanors to third-degree felonies.
What kind of places am I not allowed to carry a firearm?
You’re not allowed to carry a firearm in any of the following places:
- Educational institutions.
- Election polling stations.
- Government offices.
You’re also not allowed to carry a firearm within 1,000 feet of an execution site on the day of a death sentencing, and exemptions are granted to the following people:
- Military officers.
- Prison guards.
- Court officers.
A violation of this law is considered a third-degree felony.
What is “Unlawful Carrying”?
You can carry a handgun on your own property or any area under your control. You can also carry one inside any motor vehicle or watercraft that’s owned by you or is under your control. You cannot, however, display it in plain view, be involved in criminal activity, be prohibited from possessing a firearm, or be a member of a criminal gang. A violation of this law is considered a Class A misdemeanor. But, if the offense occurred in a place that’s licensed to sell alcohol, it would be considered a third-degree felony.
If you have a license to carry a handgun, you can’t intentionally display it in a public place (unless you’re carrying it in a shoulder or belt holster and the handgun came into view). This can include any of the following places:
- Higher education institutions.
- Places with liquor licenses.
- Sporting events.
- Correctional facilities.
- Amusement parks.
- Places of worship.
- Places where government meetings are held.
You also can’t carry a handgun while you’re intoxicated, even if it’s worn inside a holster.
What is “Unlawful Possession?”
Anyone who has had a previous felony conviction is not allowed to possess a firearm or any kind of body armor within five years from his or her release from conviction or supervision. Violating this law is considered a third-degree felony.
What is “Unlawful Transfer?”
You’re not allowed to sell, rent, lease, loan, or give a handgun to the following groups of people:
- A child under the age of 18 without written permission from his or her parents or legal guardian.
- Anyone who is intoxicated.
- Anyone that you know will use it unlawfully.
- Anyone who has been convicted of a felony within five years after his or her release from confinement or supervision.
- Anyone that you know is under an active protective order.
A violation of this law is considered a Class A misdemeanor or a state jail felony.
What can happen if I’m facing weapons charges in Texas?
If you have been charged with a weapons violation in the State of Texas, the police have most likely taken your weapon. According to the criminal procedure code, this what will happen next:
- The magistrate will release the weapon to the owner before the 61st day after the initial notification, as long there was no prosecution or conviction and you made a written request for its return.
- If you didn’t make a return request for the weapon, the magistrate has until the 121st day after the initial notification to have the weapon forfeited to the state for use or forensics, sold at a public auction, or destroyed.
The weapon may not be returned to you under certain conditions. This can include the presence of previous weapons charges and if the court decided that doing so would pose a threat to one or more people.
What are some possible defenses against weapons charges in Texas?
One possible line of defense against a weapon charge in Texas is to claim your second amendment right to bear arms. Another common defense is “unlawful search and seizure.” But, if you were acting in self-defense, the charges may be dropped as well. You might also be able to claim an exemption under certain circumstances, which can be explained in more detail by a qualified attorney.
If you’re facing a weapons charge in the State of Texas and need a criminal defense lawyer in Corpus Christi to help you with your case, be sure to get in touch with Gale Law Group.