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.
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.
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.
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.