Texas Weapons Laws
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The General Firearms Laws of The State of Texas:
In Texas, it is generally illegal to carry a handgun outside of a person’s own premises. However, a person may carry, either open or concealed, in a non-threatening or alarming manner, a shotgun or rifle.
However even with a handgun, in Texas, there are several places where a person may possess a handgun legally without the benefit of a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL). These places include:
- A person’s residence or other real property under their control.
- A person’s private motor vehicle or watercraft if the handgun is concealed, and the person is legal to possess a firearm, is not a member of a street gang, and is not engaged in the commission of a crime greater than a Class C misdemeanor traffic or boating violation.
- A person engaged in lawful fishing, hunting, or other sporting activity on the immediate premises where the activity is conducted, or is en route between the premises and the persons’ residence or motor vehicle, if the firearm is a type commonly used in the activity.
- While storing a loaded firearm, it must be in a place which cannot be accessed by a child under the age of 17, or secured with a trigger lock if there is reason to know that a child under 17 may gain access to the firearm.
The Concealed Handgun Laws of The State of Texas:
Texas allows concealed handguns to be legally carried with a CHL issued by Texas or by a state which Texas recognizes. If a license holder is in possession of a concealed handgun, they must produce their concealed weapons license along with another valid identification upon the demand of a police officer.
Private property owners are allowed to prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns on their property if they provide proper legal notice of trespassing by a CHL holder with a concealed handgun given in compliance with Texas Penal Code §30.06. Notice may be given verbally or in writing with a statutory warning or by signage with the statutory warning in English and Spanish, in one inch high block letters posted in a conspicuous place.
Further, even with a CHL, these weapons may not be carried concealed under the following circumstances pursuant to Texas Penal Code §46.03 & §46.035:
- A concealed handgun cannot be carried while the person is intoxicated.
- At an amusement park if a proper TPC §30.06 warning is given.
- In a place of religious worship if a proper TPC §30.06 warning is given.
- In a hospital or nursing home if a proper TPC §30.06 warning is given.
- At any correctional facility or within 1000 feet of a correctional facility designated as a place of execution on a day of execution if proper notice is posted.
- In any court or offices used by a court unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization from the court.
- At any polling place on Election Day.
- At any meeting of any governmental body if proper notice is posted pursuant to Texas Penal Code §30.06.
- At any high school, collegiate, professional sporting event or interscholastic event, unless the license holder is a participant in the event and a handgun is used in the event.
- At any racetrack.
- Inside any building or passenger transportation vehicle of a public or private school or educational institution.
- In the premises of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which derives 51% or more of its income from the sale of alcoholic beverages and has a conspicuous warning prohibiting firearms, if posted.
- Inside the secured area of any airport, however a person may carry any legal firearm into the terminal that is encased for shipment purposes and checked as baggage to be lawfully transported on an aircraft pursuant to airline and TSA regulations.
The State of Texas Justification For the Use of Force & Deadly Force:
In Texas, there are several situations where a person is justified in using force or deadly force.
A person may use force against another to the degree the person believes that it is reasonably necessary to protect themselves or a third person from another’s unlawful use of force.
Deadly force is defined as the degree of force likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, which includes actually firing a gun. However, the threat of using deadly force by displaying a weapon, if it is intended to cause apprehension that an actor will use deadly force if necessary, is defined by law as the use of force not deadly force.
In Texas it is presumed that deadly force was reasonably necessary if it is used against an individual who was unlawfully or forcibly entering or entered into an occupied home, business, or vehicle or is attempting to forcibly remove another against his or her will from an occupied home, business, or vehicle. Deadly force is also presumed to be justified to prevent the commission or attempted commission of murder, aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery and aggravated robbery.
In Texas if a person is present in any place where they have a right to be, they have no duty to retreat and have the right to use force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe that it is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to themselves or to prevent the commission of murder, aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery or aggravated robbery.
Texas law allows a person to use force in the protection of property to prevent or terminate another’s trespass or other unlawful interference with the possession of real or personal property. Deadly force can be used in Texas when the crime against property is classified as arson, burglary, robbery, criminal mischief at night or theft at night. Deadly force may also be used to prevent a person from fleeing with property immediately after the commission of a burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime if the actor believes that the property cannot be recovered by any other means or the use of force other than deadly force would expose the person to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
Texas also allows a person to use force and deadly force to protect the personal property of a third party. The use of force is permissible if the person believes that the force or deadly force is necessary to prevent the commission of theft or criminal mischief, or if the person believes that the third party has asked them to protect the property, the person has a legal duty to protect the property, or the third party is the spouse, parent, child or under the care of the person using force.
Unique Firearms Laws of Texas:
Texas recently enacted a law which states that people have a right to keep firearm in their locked motor vehicle while on their employers’ parking areas. However, some employers are excepted from this law. These employers include school districts or charter schools, chemical manufacturers and oil refiners that manufacture, use, transport or store hazardous materials if it has a secured parking lot, and on parking areas for which possession of firearms is prohibited by an unexpired oil and gas lease. Further, employees do not have the right to store loaded firearms in a vehicle owned or leased by the employer.
Any of the above information is solely a general legal discussion of the law in Texas and should not be considered as giving legal advice, nor creating an attorney-client relationship. Your situation may be different so contact an attorney regarding your personal circumstances. Please call our office for more information.