Texas’ gun laws can be found under Title 10, Chapter 46, Weapons, of the Texas Penal Code. This Chapter covers the state’s laws regarding weapons offenses. It addresses things like “unlawful carrying weapons” and places where weapons are prohibited. It also goes over “unlawful possession of a firearm,” which is what this post is dedicated to.
Texas is notorious for its weapons laws. In fact, Texans are known for taking pride in their rights to bear arms. After all, many gun enthusiasts firmly believe that by possessing firearms, they not only protect themselves and their families, but they protect their communities from active shooters and terrorists.
After 26 people were killed at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, people across the country were applauding the Good Samaritans for confronting the gunman (one of the residents grabbed his own rifle) and driving after him. Had it not been for the local residents’ bravery, more innocent people could have been killed. This story and similar ones like it have citizens on “high alert” for active shooters in their communities, but a criminal conviction can threaten people’s ability to defend themselves with firearms.
Are You a Prohibited Possessor?
You may be one of those people who have at least one firearm. You might even have a whole collection. However, if you’re in trouble with the law, you may be considered a “prohibited possessor,” or you may soon be.
Under Section 46.04 of the Texas Penal Code, certain classes of individuals are prohibited from possessing firearms in the state. These prohibited possessors include:
- Individuals who have been convicted of a felony.
- Individuals who have been convicted of a Class A misdemeanor for an offense committed against a member of their family or household (family violence).
Whether a person is convicted of a felony or a Class A misdemeanor for domestic violence, they generally cannot possess a firearm until: 1) it’s been five years since they’ve been released confinement, or 2) it’s been five years since they were released from community supervision, mandatory supervision, or parole, whichever happens later.
If you’re facing felony charges or Class A misdemeanor charges for domestic violence and you’re convicted, it will be more than five years before your firearm privileges can be restored. If you unlawfully possess a firearm after being convicted of a felony or domestic violence, you can be found guilty of a third-degree felony, which is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and by a possible fine up to $10,000.