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How could I face unlawful firearm possession charges in Texas?

Texas residents with previous felony convictions could face charges of unlawfully possessing firearms. The Texas Penal Code Section 46.04 requires waiting at least five years after completing a felony sentence before you may possess a firearm.

After the five-year waiting period, you could still face penalties for firearm possession. Charges may apply if you bring a gun to certain locations outside of your home. Texas residents convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors may also face firearm possession charges.

Alleged membership in street gangs or organized crime groups

When the court classifies individuals as members of a “criminal street gang,” they may face charges if found carrying a firearm. Texas law defines a street gang as a group of at least three members who use an identifiable symbol or sign and engage in unlawful acts.

Individuals alleged to have taken part in organized crime or street gang activities may not personally know the other group members. Officials could file charges of conspiring to engage in unlawful activities based on possession of a firearm. Prosecutors will, however, need to show an intent to commit an unlawful act with a weapon.

Texas residents who may not possess firearms lawfully

House Bill 1927 allowed qualified Texas residents to carry firearms without a license. The new law became effective on September 1, 2021. The Texas State Law Library notes that individuals under age 21 could, however, face charges if found in possession of a firearm.

Individuals prohibited from possessing firearms before the 2021 effective date may not have gained the right to own or carry a gun under the new law. The 2021 Texas law also does not allow residents to carry firearms if restrictions apply under federal law.


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