Posted on 8/14/17

Compared to other states, Texas has lenient laws with respect to gun possession. Anyone who is 18 years old and older may possess long guns, which are shotguns, rifles, and the like. There is no need to obtain a permit. Similarly, anyone 21 and older can own a handgun without a permit. The person purchasing the firearms must be a Texas resident.

There is also no assault weapons ban, meaning that firearms like AK-47s and the like are not banned in Texas and may be carried like similar firearms in their class.

In addition, there is no waiting period when purchasing a firearm. To purchase a firearm, one must fill out forms and provide a valid legal ID. There is no need to register a firearm after purchase.

Nonetheless, there are restrictions. To carry the weapon in the street in a concealed manner, one must obtain a concealed weapons license. If one wants to carry a firearm to work in his or her briefcase, one must obtain a license. There is no allowance for having a gun on your hip, called open carry, unless it is on one’s own property or while being used for hunting. A person may carry a gun in a vehicle per the Motorist Protection Act, even if the firearm is loaded. In such an instance, the firearm must be within reach and concealed.

Convicted Felons

Convicted felons, or people convicted of crimes that carry a penalty of more than a year in jail, have limitations for carrying firearms in Texas. Under Texas law, a felon can possess a firearm in his or her home when five years passes from the discharge of his or her sentence. This means the five years from the person’s release from prison or release from parole, whichever comes later. However, under the law, a felon will never be able to carry a firearm outside the home.

Defenses to Illegal Possession of a Firearm

If you are accused of illegal possession of a firearm, know that you have rights. Prosecutors in Texas tend to be zealous when prosecuting illegal gun possession when those accused have been convicted of a felony.

To be in “possession” of a firearm, one must be in control of that firearm. Therefore, if a neighbor brings a firearm into the house of someone with a felon past, then the homeowner has not committed a crime. If the person with the felon past takes the gun from the neighbor’s belongings, then he or she has committed a crime. Ownership of the firearm is not relevant. As such, a defense, depending on the circumstances, is that the defendant was not in possession of the firearm. Perhaps a neighbor lawfully brought it to the person’s house without knowledge of the homeowner’s criminal history.

If you or a loved one is facing gun charges, do not go it alone. You need an advocate on your side who is both experienced and knowledgeable. Prosecutors tend to be zealous in respect of illegal gun possession. Contact the criminal defense firm of Christopher Abel.

(image courtesy of Diana Feil)


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