What are the Texas Gun Laws for Felons?

Texas is a state with a reputation for going against the grain and establishing laws that suit the preferences of the political parties in charge. The will of the majority of voters sometimes drives changes. Texas is one of the states that banned abortions recently, going against the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court ruling. Gun laws in Texas are also different from some other states. Texas is known for supporting the rights of citizens to own and carry firearms, but what are the Texas gun laws for felons? We were curious about their current stand on the issue. In light of recent changes in their legislature, we investigated current gun law language, and here is what we discovered.

Even Texas has limitations on gun rights.

Texas joins other states in protecting the Second Amendment right of citizens to bear arms, but there are limitations under its law as to who may possess firearms. Some restrictions apply to Texans who fall under various legal categories. An offense that can cause restrictions and limitations on gun rights is a felony conviction. Please continue reading to learn more about how a felony conviction affects your right to possess a firearm.

Can convicted felons own guns?

Jumes Law explains that felony convictions interfere with the full rights of a person to possess a firearm. It may sound harsh, but it does not necessarily mean a lifetime ban. Texas state law prohibits convicted felons from possessing a firearm for five years after the date of the conviction.

What is the penalty for being a felony in possession of a firearm?

Persons convicted of the charge of felony possession of a firearm, face stiff penalties. When it has been less than five years since your conviction, you could receive another criminal conviction for a Class A misdemeanor or more serious charges, depending on the location of the offense. The prosecutor has the responsibility to prove that you possessed a firearm. Texas judicial members maintain a distinct interpretation that necessitates a burden of proof that the gun was in your custody, control, “actual care,” or management. You may have a case for appeal under some circumstances. If accused, a lack of evidence to support the prosecutor’s claims can get the case thrown out of court. It’s up to them to prove that you willingly accepted possession of a firearm. They must also prove you knew it was in your possession. The possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in Texas can result in a third-degree felony if convicted. Conviction carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine as high as $10,000. In some cases, a second-degree felony charge may apply to persons with previous felony convictions with consequences as harsh as 20 years in prison.

How does a prison sentence affect eligibility to own a firearm?

If you’re convicted of a felony and incarcerated, the start date for the five-year prohibition of gun possession begins on the day of your release from prison, or the day that your parole ends. Spending a year in prison does not reduce the waiting period.

Is there a deferment process for felony charges?

Thiessen Law explains that the laws governing gun rights in Texas change from time to time. A person who was brought up on charges but not fully convicted of a crime, receiving deferred adjudication, or diversion may still possess a firearm in Texas. Coming close and being convicted are two different things. If you escaped a full conviction you maintain your gun rights. The same applies to federal laws.

Can convicted felons legally possess firearms after five years?

In the State of Texas, convicted felons can legally bear arms after the five years after prison release or parole ends. It is worth noting that Texas gun laws only pertain to the borders of the state. Once you leave the Texas state boundaries, you may still be guilty of the crime of being in possession of a firearm in a different state. Federal laws differ from Texas state laws. Some federal laws prohibit felons from possessing firearms legally. You may be charged under federal law, technically, in the state of Texas, but it’s unlikely that the state of Texas would prosecute and go against its laws. A federal court could be different though. Stornello Law Notes that changing laws in the State of Texas may add further restrictions to where you can legally carry a firearm, even if your rights to bear arms have been restored. Private property laws allow organizations and businesses to ban open carry on their premises. No private citizen is allowed to possess a firearm at a public school, racetrack, or some other agency.

Must all felons wait five years?

The only way to regain your right to possess a firearm under the fifth anniversary of your release from prison, parole, or conviction date, is from a pardon from the Governor. Pardons are rare and they are expensive, but a few are granted each year. Most pardons for felons that restore gun rights come with limitations for maintaining a firearm in the home for self-protection. The stipulations that apply are defined under the terms of the pardon.

Final thoughts

It’s wise for anyone convicted of a felony in Texas to check the current laws. Laws of any state may change from one year to the next. Legislators consider proposals for changes in Texas gun laws and decide if they’re worth enacting. Sometimes the new rules create more restrictions or loosen previous rulings. A felony conviction does not take away your gun rights permanently in Texas. Its gun laws supersede federal laws that would take away your right to bear arms for life. It’s not worth taking the chance of being charged with unlawful possession of a firearm if you’re not yet eligible to possess a firearm due to a felony. When you’re unsure of where you stand concerning Texas law or what restrictions may apply to you, it’s best to consult with an attorney to learn how the current laws affect your situation.

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