Criminal charges related to firearms can have harsh consequences. Although Texas is generally an open-carry state, there are many restrictions on how, where, and when individuals can carry firearms and handguns without violating state and federal laws. A Tarrant County gun lawyer may be able to advise you about your right to possess firearms and develop strong defenses if you are facing criminal charges related to gun possession or usage.
Because gun restrictions change frequently and differ widely from one state to the next, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you are violating the law. There also are different rules for handguns versus other firearms, which can make things even more confusing. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help sort out the charges against you and determine what defenses may apply in your case.
People Who May Not Possess Firearms in Tarrant County
Texas Penal Code §46.04 defines certain classes of people who generally may not possess firearms. First, individuals with felony convictions for any offense may not own guns for five years following the date of their conviction or completion of community supervision or parole, whichever is later. After the mandatory five-year period has expired, individuals with felony convictions only may possess firearms on the property where they live.
The same five-year waiting period applies to individuals with convictions for any domestic violence offense. Similarly, if individuals are government employees, they cannot possess firearms while they are subject to the conditions of a protective order or no-contact order issued as a result of a domestic violence incident, with the exception of full-time peace officers.
Restrictions on Handgun Licenses
Texas Government Code §411.172 also prohibits certain individuals from qualifying for handgun licenses. Aside from the persons described above, who may not possess firearms at all, some additional classes of individuals are ineligible for handgun licenses, including:
- Individuals under age 21, except for former or current military members
- Individuals who have pending criminal charges for any Class A or B misdemeanor, disorderly conduct, or any felony offense, and are fugitives from justice as a result of those charges
- Individuals with convictions for Class A or B misdemeanors or disorderly conduct within the last five years
- Individuals who have substance abuse issues or are incapable of the judgment needed to care for and use handguns
Furthermore, any individuals who are subject to protective orders or restraining orders arising from domestic violence are ineligible for handgun licenses. This statute also prohibits individuals who are delinquent in their child support payments or taxes from getting handgun licenses. As a gun lawyer in Tarrant County may advise, carrying a handgun without a proper license can result in harsh consequences.
Locations Where Handguns Are Prohibited
As long as individuals are on property that they own or control, or within motor vehicles or watercraft that they own or control, they are free to carry handguns so long as that they have proper licenses to do so. If license holders intentionally display a handgun to another person in public, they commit the offense of unlawful carrying of a handgun by a license holder according to Tex. Pen. Code §46.035.
Restrictions on carrying handguns also apply in the following locations, among others:
- On the premises and in public areas of schools, universities, and colleges
- Certain businesses that hold alcohol permits
- Hospitals and nursing homes
- Churches, synagogues, and other places of worship
Other location-based restrictions on the possession of handguns exist at amusement parks, sporting events, correctional facilities, and civil commitment facilities. For assistance with accusations of unlawful carrying of a handgun, individuals may wish to seek the advice of a gun attorney in Tarrant County.
Call a Tarrant County Gun Attorney Today
A gun-related criminal conviction on your record can be a red flag for prospective employers, landlords, and loan officers. Even if entirely inadvertent, the presence of this conviction may cause others to view you as suspect or violent to some degree. To avoid these misconceptions and difficulties in the future, you may want to strongly consider contacting a Tarrant County gun lawyer for legal advice.
Being arrested on gun charges can be an intimidating experience that causes you unnecessary stress. Allow legal counsel to answer your questions and fight to protect your interests. Call today to get started on your case.