Texas gun possession laws do not impose any restriction on carrying shotguns and rifles, with a few exceptions such as recent felons, and prohibition at K-12 schools and a few other places. However, you need to have a valid license in Texas to carry a handgun, whether openly or concealed, when you are away from your own property.
Rules About Carrying a Handgun
Whether you do it carelessly or intentionally, it is a violation to carry a handgun in Texas without a valid license. Exceptions to this rule are:
- You are on property owned or controlled by you.
- You are inside or directly on the way to an automobile or boat that is owned or controlled by you.
When you carry your handgun with a license, the law requires you to either conceal it or carry it in a belt or shoulder holster. Failing this, as a license holder, you can be charged with a crime of displaying your handgun purposefully in a public place. Exceptions to this rule may apply in specific situations (such as when you display the handgun in self-defense). In Texas, it is also a violation to carry a handgun when you are intoxicated.
You can face serious legal consequences if you are found in violation of these laws. Choose a knowledgeable Houston firearm possession lawyer to mitigate the charges in the best possible way.
Firearm Possession While Traveling
Without a license, it is illegal to carry your handgun in your motor vehicle or boat in plain view. If you are involved in criminal activity (not traffic violations), or are a member of a criminal gang, or have been prohibited from possessing firearms, it is also illegal to carry your handgun in an automobile or boat.
But these prohibitions will not apply to individuals who are:
- Participating in, or traveling to and from, a sporting activity such as legal hunting (providing you have a gun that is typically used in these activities)
- Personnel authorized to carry handguns, such as on-duty police
What counts as “traveling” is not clearly defined under the law. Therefore, the court in Texas could make a decision depending on the particular circumstances of the case. Violation of these restrictions could result in charges of a third-degree felony or misdemeanor. Considering the seriousness of these charges, you should hire the services of a competent Houston criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
Carrying a Gun is Illegal at Certain Places in Texas
Even if you are a license holder, you are prohibited from carrying a gun under Texas gun possession laws in certain locations in the state. These include:
- School, school bus, or any other place where school activities are being conducted (Note: Texas has special regulations for carrying a handgun at a college or university campus.)
- Polling areas at the time of elections or during early voting
- Court offices or buildings
License holders are also prohibited from carrying a handgun to certain other places, such as hospitals, bars, and sporting events. A violation of the above-listed restrictions could result in third-degree felony charges. In such cases, your best bet is to seek legal advice and support from an experienced Houston firearm possession attorney.
Facing Firearms Charges? Choose a Texas Firearms Possession Attorney
An arrest doesn’t mean you’re guilty. Your case can be fought, and it can be won. Flood-Lewis & Associates has a team of dedicated criminal defense attorneys that will fight tooth and nail for victory on your behalf.