Am I Allowed to Own a Firearm in Texas?
- November 11, 2015
- The Law Office of Greg Tsioros
- Comments Off on Am I Allowed to Own a Firearm in Texas?
Owning a Firearm in Texas
It’s no secret that Texas is a state with lots of support for the 2nd Amendment. The constitutional right to own and carry firearms is an important issue to many people across the state. Although Texas has a pro-gun stance when compared to some other states, there are still very strict state laws regarding gun ownership. In fact, some of these laws are currently undergoing changes as 2016 approaches. For example, the issue of open carry has been hotly debated for months and the new year will bring significant changes to the law.
Knowing more about gun ownership laws in Texas can help all citizens make informed and responsible decisions about firearms.
Who Can Own Guns in Texas?
When it comes to Texas gun ownership, there are a few basic requirement before a person can purchase a firearm. These include:
- Must be 18 years of age or older to purchase a long gun
- Must be 21 years of age or older to purchase a handgun
- Must be 18 years of age or older to possess a firearm, unless under direct supervision
This means that if a person is old enough to vote, they’re old enough to buy a rifle or shotgun in Texas. However, it is still legal for a parent or family member to give a child under 18 a firearm as a gift. In these cases, the firearm must still be used and possessed under adult supervision.
A person must be 21 or older to purchase a handgun but younger people can use handguns at the firing range if they are being supervised.
These are just the basic requirements to purchase or possess a firearm in the state. There are additional restrictions which may apply. However, in Texas, it is not necessary to own a permit or license to purchase a firearm.
Firearm Ownership Restrictions
Although Texas is largely pro-gun, there are still restrictions on who can own a firearm in the state. These restrictions are intended to prevent people from using firearms in a dangerous or irresponsible way. As such, the laws typically target convicted criminals or people who may not have sound judgment and reasoning skills.
In Texas, you may not purchase or possess a firearm if you:
- Are a convicted felon
- Have been committed against your will to a mental health institution
- Are a regular user of illegal drugs
- Are a member of a criminal gang
- Have been convicted of domestic violence
- Are under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs
In all of these cases, attempting to purchase or possess a firearm is an illegal action that could result in arrest and criminal charges. Violating these restrictions could lead to felony imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines.
In some cases, a convicted felon who has been released from prison may possess a firearm in their private residence after five years have passed since the end of their sentence or parole. However, they may not be allowed to purchase new firearms or apply for a concealed carry license.
Open Carry Laws in Texas
Big changes are coming for open carry in Texas. In 2015, the state government passed a law which will allow concealed carry permit holders to openly carry handguns in many public places. This law will go into effect in January 2016. Under this law, a person with a valid concealed handgun license may:
- Wear a handgun openly in a holster in public
- Wear a handgun openly in most places where concealed carry is allowed
There are still many restrictions on open carry. For example, open carry will not be allowed in areas where concealed carry is not allowed. This includes schools, voting locations, bars, federal buildings and election sites.
The best way to learn about Texas firearms laws is to consult with an experienced attorney. An attorney may be able to provide specific advice about firearms laws and criminal charges related to the purchase or possession of firearms.