Common Weapons Charges in Texas
Weapons law violations involve a violation of state or local laws that regulate the sale, manufacture, possession, transportation, concealment, purchase, or use of firearms, explosives, and other weapons. According to statistics from the Crime in Texas report, there were 13,815 total arrests for weapons law violations statewide in 2020. Below are some common offenses involving weapons in Texas:
- Unlawfully selling a weapon
- Illegally possessing or carrying a weapon
- Using a weapon in the commission of a crime
- Improperly discharging a gun
Unless you have a state license, it is considered illegal to own, possess, or carry any kind of weapon in Texas. An experienced attorney can enlighten you about the nature and implications of weapons law violations charges.
Unlawful Carrying of Weapons
Without a state license, documentation, or registration, moving around with any type of weapon in the state of Texas is prohibited. Under Texas law, weapons may constitute any of the following items:
- Illegal knives such as Bowie knives, swords, spears, and knives with blades more than 5 ½ inches long
- Clubs such as mace, blackjacks, nightsticks, and tomahawks
- Machine guns
- Short-barrel firearm
- Armor-piercing ammunition
- Hoax bombs
- Explosive weapons such as bombs, rockets, grenades, or mines.
Unlawfully carrying a weapon in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor. An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can review the facts surrounding your unique situation, help you understand the state’s open handgun carry law, and outline your best defenses.
Texas Open Handgun Carry Law
Texas is officially an open-carry state for handguns. Starting on September 1, 2021, individuals 21 years and older who can legally be allowed to possess firearms in the state can carry handguns in public places without permits under Texas law.
Conversely, under the new Texas law, individuals who are currently prohibited from possessing firearms under state and federal laws are prohibited from possessing or carrying a firearm.
Where Weapons Are Prohibited
Weapons are prohibited in the following places according to Texas law:
- On the premises of any government court or offices used by the court
- On the physical premises of a school, college, or educational institution
- On a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution
- On the premises of a polling place on an election day
- Any place where there is an ongoing school-sponsored activity
- In an amusement park
- On the premises of a racetrack
- In a secured area of an airport
- On the premises of a correctional facility
- On the premises of a business licensed to sell alcohol
- On the premises of a hospital, nursing facility, civil commitment facility, or mental health facility
- Within 1,000 feet of a place of execution in Texas
- In a room where a meeting of a governmental entity is being held
- In a prison, jail, or any other correctional facility
Whether it is a licensed weapon or an unlawful weapon, carrying any kind of weapon in any of the aforementioned places is legally prohibited.
The following weapons are considered unlawful or prohibited in the state of Texas entirely:
- Explosive weapons such as bombs, grenades, and rockets
- Short-barrel firearms
- Machine guns
- Switchblades knives
- Brass knuckles
- Hoax bombs
- Armor-piercing ammunition
- Firearm silencers
- Improvised handguns (zip guns)
- Chemical-dispensing devices
- Tire deflation devices
If you or someone you know has recently been arrested and charged for carrying an unlawful weapon or for a weapons violation, you need to reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately. Your attorney can help you understand the nature of your charges and the possible penalties and consequences.
Violating a weapons law in Texas could result in potentially far-reaching ramifications. If convicted, you could face these penalties:
- Hefty fines
- Prison sentences (ranging from months, years, or decades)
- A criminal record
- Ineligible to own a legal handgun
- Barred from obtaining a license to carry a firearm
- Ineligible to obtain certain financial loans
- Increased difficulty to travel to other countries
- Loss of the right to vote
- Increased difficulty in getting government assistance or public benefits
- Increased difficulty in securing new jobs and accommodation
A criminal defense lawyer can come up with the best defense strategy to fight your charges and help you seek to avoid the devastating consequences of a criminal conviction.
Work With a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
Defending your weapons violations allegations without effective representation could increase your possibility of suffering the maximum penalties. Unfortunately, being convicted of a crime involving a weapon could result in devastating, immediate, and long-term consequences. It is imperative that you hire a highly-skilled and aggressive criminal defense lawyer to strategize your defense.
At Madson Castello Law, we’re committed to offering experienced legal counsel and reliable representation to clients facing weapons violations charges. As former high-level prosecutors in Dallas County, we can evaluate every aspect of your case, conduct an in-depth, private investigation, and determine a path forward. Our attorneys will help you navigate the Texas criminal justice system and represent you aggressively in every phase of the legal process.