Texas has broad gun rights, especially considering the passage of an open carry law that came into effect in 2016. Nevertheless, the consequences for running afoul of gun laws in Texas can be severe and include lengthy jail terms even if you do not discharge your weapon.

If an individual is facing gun-related charges, they should consider enlisting the assistance of an Odessa gun lawyer. An experienced criminal attorney in Odessa can build a defense to help lessen any potential consequences.

Texas Gun Laws

Firearm possession, and the possession of other dangerous weapons such as knives, clubs, explosives, or brass knuckles and related weaponry, are governed by Chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code, as well as touching upon many other sections of the Penal Code. An Odessa gun attorney can help an individual better understand their rights in owning and possessing a firearm.

Texans with a valid license to carry a concealed handgun can openly carry a handgun wherever they had a legal right to carry a concealed handgun as long as it is secured in a shoulder or belt holster. An individual with a current, valid license does not need to obtain a new handgun license or additional training sessions to exercise the right to open carry.

Sentencing and Penalties

The illegal possession of a firearm is considered a Class A misdemeanor, meaning a fine of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to a year. If the weapon is illegally carried in a place where alcohol is served, the offense is elevated to a felony in the third degree. The felony carries a jail term from 2 to 20 years and up to $10,000 in penalties making it important that an Odessa gun attorney is consulted.

An individual who displays or brandishes a handgun outside of the belt or shoulder holster commits a misdemeanor, or in some circumstances, a felony, if the offense occurs on the property of a school or in a bar, or in other protected areas. Carrying handguns on the property of college campuses is prohibited unless allowed by the institution itself.

Potential Defenses

An experienced Odessa gun lawyer can not only explain the various restrictions on open and concealed carry on various premises, they can also advise their client about potential defenses.

For example, it is a defense to the prosecution if at the time of the illegal display of the handgun, an individual would have been justified in the use of deadly force. If the person displayed their weapon for the purposes of self-defense or the defense of a third party.

It should also be noted that brandishing a gun in a threatening manner can be considered an assault. Furthermore, using a weapon in the commission of another crime can be a serious aggravating factor, resulting in steeper fines and sentencing.

Benefits of a Gun Attorney

Open carry does not mean the legal landscape governing guns is without pitfalls for the unwary. The facts and circumstances around the use and possession of guns in Texas can have serious consequences in terms of criminal liability.

It is essential if you are facing gun-related charges that you enlist the expertise of an experienced Odessa gun lawyer to defend you and your Second Amendment rights.