Texas Gun Restriction Laws

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 What Are the Gun Restriction Laws in Texas?

Texas does not require a permit to purchase handguns, rifles, or shotguns. Likewise, there is no requirement for gun owners to register their firearms. Texas does, however, have several restrictions in place.

Age Restrictions

Federal and Texas state laws both place age restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms. Under federal law, people must be at least 18 years old to purchase rifles or shotguns and at least 21 to buy handguns. Similarly, Texas law generally prohibits people under 18 from possessing firearms except under certain circumstances.

Let’s consider a teenager named Lucas, who is 16 years old and lives in Texas. Lucas cannot legally walk into a gun store and purchase a firearm of any kind. Furthermore, he generally cannot possess a firearm, even if it was gifted to him or he found it. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If Lucas is accompanied by his parent or guardian, and they are hunting or engaging in some other lawful activity requiring the use of a firearm, then Lucas could legally possess and use the firearm under the supervision of his parent or guardian.

However, if Lucas was found in possession of a firearm outside these exceptions, he could face legal consequences, and any adult who allowed him access could potentially face legal consequences as well.

Prohibited Persons

Under both federal and Texas law, certain people are prohibited from possessing firearms. These “prohibited persons” include convicted felons, individuals convicted of domestic violence crimes, those subject to restraining or protective orders, and individuals with certain mental health adjudications.

Suppose we have an individual named Mark, who was convicted of a felony five years ago in Texas. Since his release, Mark has led a law-abiding life. However, despite his reformed behavior, both Texas and federal law generally prohibit Mark from possessing a firearm due to his past felony conviction. If Mark were to purchase or possess a firearm, he could be charged with a crime, even if he had no intention of using the firearm unlawfully.

There are ways for Mark to regain his right to possess a firearm. However, they typically involve legal processes like expungement or pardoning of his original conviction, which would require legal assistance.

Location Restrictions

There are also restrictions on where a person can carry a firearm in Texas. Even with a license to carry, there are places where firearms are prohibited. Some of these locations include schools, bars, sporting events, and government buildings.

Imagine a licensed gun owner named Sarah, who regularly carries her handgun for personal protection. One day, Sarah decides to attend her son’s high school football game and brings her handgun, forgetting that schools are gun-free zones. Upon entering the school grounds, she could be violating Texas law by carrying her firearm onto the premises, even if she had no intention of using it.

The potential for accidents or misuse of the firearm in an environment with many children and adolescents is one of the reasons why carrying firearms in such locations is generally prohibited.

In another instance, if Sarah decided to visit a bar and brought her firearm, she would again be in violation of Texas law, even if she had a license to carry. The reason behind this restriction is that mixing alcohol and firearms can lead to dangerous situations. If found in violation, Sarah could face legal consequences, including the potential loss of her license to carry.

Overall, while Texas has relatively permissive gun laws compared to other states, there are still important restrictions and guidelines to follow for safe and lawful firearm possession and use. Ignorance of these laws isn’t typically accepted as a defense, so it’s crucial for all gun owners to educate themselves about the laws in their specific location.

Does Texas Have a Juvenile Possession Law?

Texas does have laws concerning juvenile possession of firearms. As mentioned above, generally, people under 18 cannot possess firearms, with some exceptions for activities such as hunting, during supervised activities, and for self-defense in the home.

Texas has a Child Access Prevention law. Under Texas law, it is a crime to leave a loaded firearm in a place where the person knows or should know that a child under 17 may gain access unless the gun is in a secure location or the child has the parent’s permission and is supervised.

Imagine a Texas resident named John, who is a legal gun owner. John keeps a loaded handgun in his nightstand drawer for home protection. He doesn’t use any gun safe, gun lock, or any other security device to keep his handgun safe. John has a 15-year-old son named Billy.

One day, John leaves for work, leaving Billy at home alone after school. Billy, knowing that his father keeps a loaded gun on the nightstand, decides to show the gun to a friend who came over. Without his father’s permission or any adult supervision, Billy takes the loaded gun out of the nightstand and handles it. In this scenario, there is a clear risk of harm to both Billy and his friend, especially if neither of them has been trained in gun safety.

John could be found in violation of Texas’s Child Access Prevention law in this scenario because:

  1. John left a loaded firearm (the handgun) in a place where he knew or should know that a child (Billy) could gain access.
  2. The firearm was not in a secure location, such as a locked cabinet or a safe.
  3. Billy is under the age of 17 and obtained access to the firearm without parental permission and supervision.

In such a case, John could be held criminally liable for his failure to secure the firearm. This law is designed to prevent accidents that can occur when children gain unsupervised access to firearms.

Does Texas Require Background Checks?

Private sellers are not required to conduct a background check when selling a firearm. This is often referred to as the “gun show loophole” or “private sale loophole.” However, licensed firearm dealers must conduct a background check on the purchaser. The Federal Government must license the dealer, and they are required to run the background check through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Is It Illegal to Carry a Concealed Weapon?

Texas has become a permitless carry state, meaning that no concealed weapons permit is needed for the carrying of a concealed handgun for those 21 years and older who are not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm.

Does Texas Require a License to Possess Firearms?

In Texas, you don’t need a license to merely possess a firearm, such as a handgun, shotgun, or rifle, unless you’re a person prohibited by law from possessing firearms. Texas does not have a firearm registration requirement, so guns do not need to be registered with the state.

Does Texas Have a Ban on Assault Weapons?

Texas does not have a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” Under federal law, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that was in place between 1994 and 2004 was not renewed, and there is no federal prohibition on these types of weapons.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Gun Law Violations in Texas?

If you are accused of violating gun laws in Texas, it would be advisable to consult with a criminal defense attorney. These laws can carry serious penalties, including imprisonment and fines. An attorney can help you understand the charges, your rights, and your potential defenses.

If you need assistance finding an attorney, LegalMatch is a valuable tool. You can present your case, and LegalMatch will help you connect with a Texas criminal lawyer who is well-equipped to handle gun law violations.

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