There are five different statutes in Chapter 46 (the weapons chapter) of the Texas Penal Code that deal with the unlawful possession of a firearm. If you are charged with one of the following crimes, you may face series repercussions. The following categories outline the major offenses you can be charged with if unlawfully carrying or possessing.
Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon
Under Texas Penal Code 46.02, this offense occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun on or about his person when not on premises owned by or controlled by him or en route to an automobile or watercraft owned or controlled by him.
Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon is a Class A misdemeanor with punishment of up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Defenses against unlawful carrying include engaging in lawful hunting or fishing. It is not against the law to possess a firearm in an automobile or watercraft if the weapon is concealed.
Places Weapons are Prohibited
Texas Penal Code 46.03, this offense occurs when a person possesses or goes with a firearm on the following premises:
School or educational institution
Polling place: on the day of an election or while early voting was in progress.
Government court: premises of a government court or court office unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization.
Airport: into the secured premises of an airport.
Place of execution: within 1000 feet of a place of execution
College campus without a permit
Carrying Where Weapons are Prohibited is a third degree felony with punishment up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Unlawful Carrying of Handgun by License Holder
According to 46.035, it is illegal for a licensed carrier to posses a handgun (even if it is in a shoulder or belt holster) in the following places:
Portions of public or private college premises where concealed carry is prohibited by the college
Alcoholic Beverage Code licensed premises
High school, college or professional sporting events (It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon at a college sporting event only if a Sec. 30.06 notice is provided by sign or other means.)
Hospital or nursing facility (when prohibited by posted notice)
Amusement park (when prohibited by posted notice)
Place of worship (when prohibited by posted notice)
Meeting of governmental entity subject to Open Meetings Act (when prohibited by posted notice)
Unlawful Carrying at all these locations is a Class A misdemeanor with punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. The exception is possession at Alcoholic Beverage Code licensed premises and correctional facilities, which is a third degree felony with punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Licensed concealed carry is legal on public college campuses pursuant to rules established and published by the president of the college. Licensed concealed carry is not legal on private college campuses unless authorized by the college. Licensed open carry is prohibited on all college campuses.
Unlawful Possession of Firearm
Texas Penal code 46.04 makes it illegal to possess a firearm at home or elsewhere within five years of release from felony community supervision, felony parole or felony confinement. This is a third degree felony with punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. After five years, possession of a firearm remains illegal unless it is possessed at a residence address.
It is also illegal to possess a firearm at home or elsewhere within five years of release from community supervision or confinement for a conviction for assault-family violence. In this instance, unlawful possession of a firearm is a Class A misdemeanor with punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine of $4,000.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm can either result in a third degree felony or a Class A misdemeanor, depending on circumstances and past record.
Finally, according to Texas Penal Code 46.05, it is illegal to possess, manufacture, transport, repair or sell an explosive weapon, machine gun, short-barrel firearm, an improvised explosive device or a firearm silencer. A short-barrel firearm is defined as a rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches or a shotgun with a barrel of less than 18 inches or either weapon with an overall length of less than 26 inches.
Possessing a Prohibited Weapon is a third degree felony with punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Hiring the Right Firearms Attorney
Having a DFW defense attorney who is experienced with firearm cases and Texas weapons laws can make a huge difference in your case’s outcome. Justin has handled numerous firearms cases throughout his defense career, including securing the first not guilty verdict in a Plano court since its opening in 2007 for a client in a firearms case (read more about the case here).
Charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm? Call Justin!
You need a gun lawyer that can defend you when the you are facing a violation of your right to carry and use a firearm. Call the Sparks Law Firm, a Fort Worth based private practice serving Dallas/Fort Worth citizens and defending your rights. Call 817-334-0300
Justin Sparks has been defending clients across Fort Worth and Dallas for over ten years. Our firm helps you through the criminal process, from investigation to appeals, if need be. Free consultations for all new cases.