The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states "a well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." There has been a great deal of debate and many heated arguments over what the amendment, originally ratified in 1791, should mean in modern times. Regardless of your position within this discussion, the current law enables one to purchase, possess, and use many type of handguns and firearms.
Texas enables gun ownership, concealed carry, and open carry, but the state has enacted laws that place limits on the possession, sale, transportation, and use of firearms in order to prevent crime and protect the public. If one violates these limits, they can face a misdemeanor or felony charge that can result in harsh consequences. When facing a gun crime, one should not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney who knows firearms law. A number of potential defenses may be available to a person accused of a firearms crime, and they need an attorney familiar with them.
In Texas, you have the right to purchase firearms so long as you have a state-issued ID and buy the firearm from a person or business with a federal firearms license permit. If you are buying a gun from another individual, you must be at least 18 years old, not intoxicated, and not intending to commit a crime with the weapon. You do not have to register your firearm or complete a waiting period.
You may also carry your weapon openly or concealed in public if you have the proper permit. Starting January 1, 2016, a Concealed Handgun License became a License to Carry (LTC), covering both concealed and open carry situations. A LTC may be granted if you properly apply, meet all of the eligibility requirements, and are not prohibited from owning a firearm due to some other state or federal law. To obtain an LTC you must:
While Texas has liberal gun ownership laws, it is still possible for you to violate the law in some way. If you violate gun ownership or carry laws, you can face criminal charges. Some firearm offenses include:
Illegal possession of a firearm: It is illegal to carry a handgun (even if the handgun is in a shoulder or belt holster) in the following places/circumstances:
It is illegal to possess or enter with a firearm, illegal knife, club or prohibited weapon at the following locations:
Your punishment for a firearm offense depends on the level of the misdemeanor or felony you are convicted of. Potential penalties include:
However, the potential, i.e. the collateral, consequences of a firearms-related conviction are much more far-reaching than incarceration and a fine. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony firearms-related offense, you may face: