Almost every Texan is allowed to keep a firearm in their home or personal vehicle.
Which penalties can a person get for being convicted of a weapon crime?
If a person is convicted of a weapons crime in Texas, they will lose their right to bear arms.
What is considered a deadly weapon in Texas?
Texas Penal Code §1.07 defines “deadly weapon” as:
- A firearm or anything designed solely for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or causing death to another person; or
- Anything that in the manner of its use or intended use can cause serious bodily injury or is capable of killing another person.
Some examples are:
- Switchblade knives
- Machine guns
- Motor vehicles
What weapons are illegal in Texas?
There are only a handful of weapons the state makes illegal to own, and they are listed under section 46.05 of the Texas Penal Code. A person can be charged up to a third-degree felony if they possess, manufacture, or sell any of the following weapons:
- An explosive weapon: Third-degree felony
- Machine gun: Third-degree felony
- Short-barrel firearms: Third-degree felony
- Firearm silencer: Third-degree felony
- Brass knuckles: Class A misdemeanor
- Armor-piercing ammunition: Third-degree felony
- Chemical dispensing device: Third-degree felony
- Homemade guns (zip guns): Third-degree felony
- A tire deflation devise: State jail felony
- Improvised explosive device: Third-degree felony
Some of these weapons can be legally owned if they are registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, or if they are classified as a curio or relic by the United States Department of Justice.
In which places are weapons prohibited in Texas?
To ensure the safety of others, there are places where a person is prohibited from carrying a weapon. Section 46.03 of the Texas Penal Code makes it illegal to carry a weapon in the following locations:
- A school or educational institution
- Polling place
- Government court or office
- Secured areas of an airport
- Places of execution
If a person is caught carrying a handgun in any of the aforementioned locations, the person will be facing a third-degree felony. It’s irrelevant to the court if the person is licensed to carry a handgun in Texas.
Weapons Free School Zones include:
- Any area within 300 feet of a school;
- Any area where an official school function is taking place (such as a school dance or field trip);
- Any area where an event sponsored or sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League is taking place.
Knowledge is an important component of this law. The prosecution must prove that the person knew that the area where she/he was committing the offense was one of the areas listed above.
In which places is it against the law to carry a location-restricted knife?
These knives are called “location-restricted knives” and they have a blade that is over five and a half inches long.
- A business that earns 51% or more of its earnings from the sale of alcohol
- Anywhere that a high school, college, or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place.
- A correctional facility
- Hospital or nursing facility
- Mental health facility
- Amusement park
- Places of religious worship
Possessing a location-restricted knife in any of the locations mentioned in this section is a Class C misdemeanor. The person could face a fine of up to $500 if convicted. If the knife was in their possession while they were at a school or educational institution, the person will be charged with a third-degree felony.
What does unlawful carry entail?
According to section 46.02 of the Texas Penal Code, it’s against the law to carry a weapon unless the person is on their property or inside of, or on the way to their vehicle. It’s also against the law to have a handgun in plain view inside the vehicle. The only time the gun can be in plain sight is if the person is licensed to carry it, and it’s being carried in a shoulder or belt holster.
Texas Penal Code §46.02 states a person could be charged with unlawfully carrying a firearm if:
- It’s in plain view;
- The person engaged in some sort of criminal activity;
- The person was court ordered to not possess a firearm; or
- The person is a member of a criminal street gang.
The person faces Class A misdemeanor charges if they are convicted under this section of the Penal Code. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by no more than a year in jail, a fine that can cost up to $4,000, or both.
If the person is caught unlawfully carrying a handgun in a place that is licensed or permitted to sell alcohol, the charges could be elevated to a third-degree felony. If convicted, the person will be facing no less than two years but not more than 10 in prison, and a fine that can cost up to $10,000.
What does unlawful possession of a firearm entail?
Section 46.04 of the Penal Code makes it illegal for convicted felons to possess a gun within five years of being released from confinement, parole, or community supervision. If a person is a convicted felon and they are found in possession of a firearm, they will face a third-degree felony charge.
Texas Penal Code §46.04 states that a person will be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm if they:
- Were served with a protective order and owned a firearm;
- Were convicted of a felony offense and possessed a firearm;
- After conviction and before the 5th anniversary after release from incarceration, probation or parole; or
- At another location other than where they lived after the fifth anniversary from their release from incarceration, probation or parole.
- Were convicted of domestic assault and possessed a firearm before the fifth anniversary of either:
- Their release from jail after their conviction; or
- Their release from community supervision after conviction.
It’s also illegal to possess a firearm within five years of being released from confinement or community supervision for a conviction of assault against a family member. Possession of a weapon is a Class A misdemeanor that can land the person in jail for a year and a fine of $4,000.
The person’s charges will be reclassified to a third-degree felony if they unlawfully possessed a firearm after a felony conviction. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
What does unlawfully transfer a weapon entail?
If a person loans or gives a weapon to someone, they could face criminal charges. It’s illegal in Texas to transfer a weapon to a person who could cause serious damage.
Texas Penal Code §46.06 states that a person will be charged with unlawfully transferring a weapon if they:
- Provide a firearm to someone with the knowledge they will use it for criminal activity;
- Give or offer a minor a firearm or knife with a blade longer than 5.5 inches;
- Sell guns or ammo to a person convicted of a felony within five years of their release;
- Sell guns or ammo to an inebriated person; or
- Provide a firearm to someone under a protective order.
- Receive a handgun while there is an active protective order against them.
Unlawfully transferring a weapon is a class A misdemeanor, which can result in a fine of up to $4,000 and 12 months in jail. The crime could be enhanced to state jail felony if the weapon provided was a handgun. The penalties for a state jail felony include up to 24 months in state jail and a possible fine of up to $10,000.