Dallas Gun Charges Lawyer

Texans love their guns. Whether you’re hunting for sport, collecting firearms, or defending your home and property rights, we understand how important it is to protect your ability to bear arms. That’s why it is essential to fully comprehend Texas gun laws and the consequences of violating them. Misunderstanding or misinterpreting firearms laws can lead to serious legal repercussions. Learn about gun charges in Texas.

If you are charged with a firearm offense, it is imperative to have an experienced Dallas gun lawyer on your side who can provide knowledgeable and aggressive representation. A firearm conviction can result in jail time and fines, but it can also have long-term repercussions that can impact your ability to obtain employment, housing, and vote.

In this article, a Dallas gun lawyer at Varghese Summersett discusses Texas Constitutional Carry, including who can (and cannot) carry a handgun, common gun charges, and the importance of retaining a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer if you have been accused of any gun violation in North Texas.


Texas Constitutional Carry

In a broad sense, Constitutional Carry, often referred to as “permitless carry,” is a legal principle in the United States that allows individuals to carry handguns without requiring a license or permit. The term originates from the view that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution permits no restrictions on an individual’s right to bear arms.

Texas adopted Constitutional Carry on September 1, 2021, with the passing of House Bill 1927. This law allows individuals legally permitted to own a handgun to carry it, openly or concealed, in most public places without needing a license. Before this date, Texans were required to have a license to carry (LTC) after completing a safety course.

There are, however, age restrictions and exceptions. Texas’ Constitutional Carry does not apply if you are under the age of 21, have been convicted of certain crimes, or subject to a protective/restraining order. It also doesn’t give people carte blanch to carry a gun anywhere. There are specific locations where carrying a firearm is always prohibited.

Lawfully Carrying a HandGun in Texas

As mentioned, Constitution Carry does not apply to all Texans. To legally carry a handgun, holstered or concealed, you:

  • Must be 21 years of age or older;
  • Must be 18 or order (see more on that below).
  • Must not be prohibited from possessing a firearm in a public place under Texas law – specifically Texas Penal Code Sections 12.04 and 46.04. This includes a person who has a previous felony conviction; a previous conviction for a Class A misdemeanor for assault involving a family or household member; or is the subject of a protective order.
  • Must not have been convicted of assault causing bodily injury; deadly conduct; terrorist threat; disorderly conduct – discharging a firearm; disorderly conduct – displaying a firearm; within the previous five years; and
  • Must not be prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law. This includes felons, fugitives, addicts, mentally ill people, illegal aliens, anyone dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military; anyone who has renounced their U.S. citizenship; a person who is subject to a protective order; domestic abusers.

18-year-olds and guns in Texas

A federal judge has ruled that it is unconstitutional for Texas to make it illegal for 18-20-year-olds to open carry in Texas. Texas has decided not to appeal that decision, so although Texas law says you have to be 21 to open carry, 18-20-year-olds are not going to be prosecuted under the current state of the law.

Prohibited Places to Carry a Handgun

Even though it is legal in Texas to carry a handgun, there are certain places that are off-limits. These include the premises of:

  1. School or education institution, its vehicles, or on the grounds where a school-sponsored activity is occurring;
  2. Polling places, including during early voting;
  3. Courts and offices used by courts;
  4. Racetrack where pari-mutuel wagering occurs on horses or dogs;
  5. Secured sections of airports (i.e. inside the metal detectors);
  6. Within 1000 feet of the location where an inmate is to be executed on the day the sentence is to be imposed;
  7. Bars or restaurants that derive 50 percent or more of their income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption;
  8. Professional sporting event;
  9. Correction facility;
  10. Civil commitment facility;
  11. Hospital or nursing homes;
  12. Mental hospitals;
  13. Amusement parks;
  14. 14. A room or room of an open meeting of a government entity.

Different Rules for License to Carry (LTC) Holders

Although people are no longer required to have a License to Carry (LTC) a handgun in most public places, people who choose to get a LTC may be able to take their guns to some places unlicensed gun holders can’t. For example, if you have an LTC you may be able to carry it into other states under a reciprocity agreement; may be able to avoid a background check if you purchase a firearm from a dealer; may be able to carry on college campuses with applicable regulations; may be able to avoid arrest at an airport for accidentally leaving the gun in a carry-on; and may be able to keep your gun in your vehicle locked in your car while parked at a school.


Common Dallas Firearm Charges

Now that you have an overview of the laws that are in place, let’s take a look at some of the more common charges stemming from Constitutional Carry in Dallas.

Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon

Even under Constitutional Carry, certain individuals are prohibited from carrying a handgun in public. These include people convicted of certain crimes, those under protective orders, and individuals younger than 21 (unless they are military members or veterans). If any of these ineligible individuals carry a handgun, they can be charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon.

The punishment can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and what specifically barrs them from carrying a weapon – family violence, protective order, etc. The specific punishment is covered under Texas Penal Code Section 46.02 and Section 46.03.  An experienced Dallas gun lawyer can also help determine what offense and punishment you or a loved one may face if arrested on a gun charge.

Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in Public

Individuals convicted of a felony are prohibited from possessing a firearm in public until five years after their release from confinement or supervision, and even then, they can only possess a firearm at the premises where they live. Violation of these rules can lead to a charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in Public, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison with a minimum 5-year sentence.

Carrying in Prohibited Places

Even with Constitutional Carry, firearms are not allowed in certain locations, such as  bars deriving more than 51 percent of their income from alcohol sales, government courts, and polling places. Carrying a firearm in these locations can lead to carrying in a prohibited place, typically a Class A misdemeanor but can also be elevated a third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances. Again, a Dallas gun lawyer can help you understand what charge and punishment you may face.

Unlawful Carrying While Intoxicated

Regardless of Constitutional Carry, carrying a firearm while intoxicated is still prohibited. Violation of this can result in a charge of Unlawful Carrying While Intoxicated, a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.

An unlicensed handgun holder commits an offense if he or she carries a handgun while the person is intoxicated and is not:

A) on their own property or property under their control or on private property with consent of the owner;

B) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under their control; or with the consent of the owner or operator of the vehicle or watercraft.

If you or a loved one has been accused of any kind of gun law violation, it’s important to reach out to an experienced Dallas gun lawyer at the Varghese Summersett law firm. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling gun charges, and our goal is to protect your rights while delivering the most favorable outcome possible.

Speak to a Dallas Gun Lawyer Today.

In the complex terrain of Texas gun laws, being accused of a gun crime can have far-reaching implications. It’s not just about facing immediate penalties like fines or jail time – a conviction can affect your future employment prospects, tarnish your reputation, and impact personal relationships.

Navigating the criminal justice system is daunting and doing so without seasoned legal representation can significantly heighten the risk of an unfavorable outcome. This is where an experienced Dallas gun lawyer can make all the difference.

At Varghese Summersett, our legal team has extensive experience in dealing with gun crime cases. We meticulously examine every facet of your case, striving to protect your rights while constructing a robust defense strategy.

Don’t leave your future to chance. If you’re accused of a gun crime in Texas, your first step should be to contact an experienced Dallas gun lawyer at Varghese Summersett. Call us today at 214-903-4000 or contact us online.


FAQs About Texas Gun Laws

How do you have to carry a handgun in Texas?

To lawfully carry a handgun in Texas, it must be either:

  • concealed, meaning no part of the handgun is visible at all; or
  • penly in a holster..
Who is eligible to carry a handgun under the Texas Constitutional Carry law?

Only residents who are at least 21 years old (or 18 if a member of the armed forces or a veteran), and who are not convicted of a felony, domestic violence misdemeanor, or subject to restraining or protective orders can carry handguns in Texas.

Can I carry a handgun in public without a license?

Yes, as long as you are eligible under the Constitutional Carry law, you can carry a handgun in public. However, the handgun must be carried in a holster or completely concealed.

Are there places where I can’t carry my handgun, even with the Constitutional Carry law?

Yes, there are numerous places you can’t carry a handgun, including schools, government courts, polling places, racetracks, and within 1,000 feet of an execution location.

What is the penalty if I carry a firearm in a prohibited location?

Carrying in a prohibited place is generally a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. However, the severity can increase depending on the specific circumstances.

What is the 51 percent rule?

The 51 percent rule refers to businesses that derive 51 percent or more of their income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption. Such establishments are required by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to prominently display a “51 percent sign.”

The 51 percent sign is red and notes that it is unlawful for a holder of a license to carry a handgun on the business premises. The sign also signifies that possession of a firearm on the premises of a business that has a permit or license to sell alcoholic beverages can be a felony offense if the business gets 51 percent or more of its revenue from the sale of alcohol.

This rule applies regardless of whether you are carrying the firearm openly or concealed, and whether you have a license or not. In other words, even with the Constitutional Carry law, carrying in such a location is still illegal.

If you’re found to be carrying a handgun in a place where it is prohibited by the 51 percent rule, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. This is punishable by a prison term of 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Does the Constitutional Carry law apply to rifles and shotguns?

The Constitutional Carry law specifically applies to handguns. Rifles and shotguns have their own set of regulations.

Does Texas honor out-of-state gun permits?

Yes, Texas has reciprocity agreements with many states and will honor out-of-state gun permits.

What should I do if I’m charged with a gun-related crime?

If you are charged with a gun-related crime in Texas, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. We can help. Call for a free consultation with a Dallas gun lawyer at 817-900-3220 for a free consultation.

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