Texas has gun laws that tend to favor the gun owner, and recent changes to Texas gun laws mean that open carry is possible even without a license. Yet it is critical to know that there are still ways in which a person can face unlawful carrying charges and can be subject to serious criminal penalties. The following are five things our Dallas weapons charge defense attorneys want to make sure you know about unlawful carrying under Texas law.
1. You Do Not Need a License to Carry a Handgun in Public
Prior to September 1, 2021, it was unlawful to carry a handgun in Texas in a public space without having a license to carry (or an LTC). However, with the passage of HB 1927, open carry is now permitted in the state. Accordingly, you should never face charges for carrying a handgun or long gun in a public space simply because you do not have a license.
2. You Can Still Face Unlawful Carrying Charges Based on Your Circumstances
While you do not need a license to carry a handgun in a public space in Texas, you should know that you can still face unlawful carrying charges based on your age, personal history, or other circumstances. The Texas Penal Code expressly states that it is unlawful for a person to engage in the open carry of weapons if any of the following are true:
· You are under 21 years old;
· You have a prior felony conviction that makes carrying a handgun in public or even possession of a weapon unlawful;
· You have been convicted of a misdemeanor that prevents you from carrying a handgun in public;
· You are subject to a protective order that limits your ability to carry a weapon;
· You are restricted from possession of a firearm under federal law; or
· You are intoxicated.
3. It is Unlawful to Carry a Weapon in Certain Places
Even if the above exceptions do not apply to you and you are permitted to carry a handgun in public, you should know that open carry is still unlawful in certain places, and you can face charges. Those places include, for example:
· Polling place on election day;
· Court building or other government building;
· Correctional facility;
· Hospital; or
· Amusement park.
4. You May Face Unlawful Carrying Charges If You Have a Weapon on Private Property
You cannot carry handguns in public on private property, including private businesses, that post signs banning public weapons. Indeed, you can face charges if you carry a handgun or other weapon onto such premises.
5. Some Weapons Remain Unlawful and Can Result in Unlawful Carrying Charges
While handguns and long guns can be carried in public in Texas, there are some weapons that remain unlawful. If you carry any of the following in public, you may face unlawful carrying charges:
· Explosive weapon;
· Machine gun;
· Short-barrel firearm;
· Armor-piercing ammunition;
· Chemical dispensing device;
· Zip gun;
· Tire deflation device; or
· Improvised explosive device.
Seek Advice from a Weapons Charge Defense Attorney in Dallas, TX
Are you facing charges for unlawful carrying of a weapon? A Dallas weapons charge defense attorney at our firm can help you to fight the charges. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC for more information.