If you live in Texas, you might be wondering what rights you do and do not have with regard to firearm ownership and use. Here’s a quick overview of some of the state’s firearm laws from a criminal attorney in Lubbock, TX.
- Concealed carry: Perhaps the most common questions we get about firearm laws in the state have to do with concealed carry. Texas does allow concealed carry of a handgun with a license. To be eligible for a license, a person must be at least 21 years old, must not have a felony on their record, must not be a fugitive, must not be chemically dependent, must be capable of exercising sound judgment and must not be in arrears for taxes or child support. On college campuses, concealed carry is allowed in parking lots, garages and outdoor walkways. Universities can designate certain areas as gun-free zones.
- Open carry: Long gun and black powder weapon open carry (including handguns) is not forbidden by Texas state law unless done so in a manner intended to cause alarm. Obviously, that definition is often open to interpretation. Handgun open carry has been allowed since January 1, 2016. Non-residents who have permits in other states that are recognized by Texas are also allowed to open carry under these laws.
- Peaceable journey: A person is allowed to carry a loaded handgun without a permit while traveling in or heading directly to a motor vehicle or watercraft they own or control. The gun does not need to be concealed while heading to the vehicle.
- Castle doctrine: In Texas, a person will be presumed justified in the use of deadly force to protect themselves against unlawful and forceful intrusions on their dwelling, or to prevent the unlawful or forceful removal of a lawful occupant from the dwelling. This so-called castle doctrine also applies to situations in which the gun wielder must use deadly force to prevent serious felonies, such as arson or burglary. The shooter does not have a duty to retreat from any place he or she has a legal right to be.
- Preemption of local restrictions: State law prohibits any municipal governments from regulating the transfer, storage, licensing or ownership of firearms, ammunition or accessories. State restrictions will always preempt local restrictions with regard to firearm laws and usage.
- NFA weapons: Texas law requires all explosive weapons, machine guns, short-barrel firearms and silencers be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record as appropriate.
For more information about Texas state firearm laws, contact a criminal attorney in Lubbock, TX.
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