Although certain laws concerning firearms are more relaxed in Texas than they are in other states, unlawful possession of a firearm is still treated very seriously.
Generally charged and sentenced as a Class A misdemeanor, those convicted of this offense can spend up to a year in jail and face up to $4,000 in fines. Sometimes this offense is charged as a third-degree felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The purpose of the law against unlawful possession of a firearm (Tex. Penal Code §46.04) is to keep guns out of the hands of “prohibited people” who are considered to pose a higher risk of violence in their communities. Specifically, the law states these people to be convicted felons, those convicted of domestic violence, and state employees subject to protective or restraining orders.
You can pay a heavy price for merely getting caught with a gun in your possession if you’re considered to be a “prohibited person.” Whether it’s on a holster, over your shoulder, or stored somewhere in your home or vehicle, if you’re not supposed to have a gun in your possession, you might be in for a rude awakening if law enforcement finds it – but not always.
Owning a Gun as a Convicted Felon in Texas
Under Texas law, it’s true that convicted felons can’t possess any firearms after they are released from incarceration, but this prohibition persists for only five years after they regain their freedom. After the five-year anniversary of a convicted felon’s sentence completion, they regain their right to own firearms – but only in their home or on their land for protection or hunting.
Convicted felons can’t take their guns off of their properties. This means they can’t legally open carry their firearms in public and they are ineligible to obtain concealed carry licenses.
Texas Law vs. Federal Law
Texas law and federal law do not agree when it comes to felons regaining their gun ownership rights. Under federal law, a convicted felon can never legally own a gun under any circumstance – even if they can only keep on in their home, as Texas law provides.
Federal law supersedes state law, so convicted felons in Texas who insist on owning a gun are taking a potentially significant risk. If a federal law enforcement agency such as ATF discovers a gun in the home of a convicted felon, that person can be arrested and charged under federal law for a Class D felony.
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
At Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C., we understand that many Texans value their right to bear arms. If you are charged with a crime related to possessing a firearm, especially as a convicted felon, reach out to our firm for legal assistance.
Our team has more than 45 years of combined experience and provides our clients with honest, straightforward counsel. As a results-driven law firm, you can count on us to focus on helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your legal situation.