In today’s climate of pending gun control legislation, you may find yourself wondering, “What are my rights?” This question can be further complicated by missteps in your past. Rest assured, just because of a previous run-in with the law, your firearm possession rights are not necessarily “under the gun.” Here are a few pointers for knowing your rights to possess a handgun or other firearm subsequent to an arrest.
First, it is important to look at the terms of your adjudication. Felony deferred adjudication only prevents possession of firearms in your house if the conditions of probation prohibit it. The court usually orders a prohibition on firearm possession in deferred adjudication and probation, but not in every case. In fact, by retaining an attorney it may be possible to recover your gun from the police even while the case is pending. Check Article 18.19(c) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure for details.
Second, the applicable law may be different, depending on your situation. For instance, under the Texas Penal Code, Section 46.04, a convicted felon may only possess a firearm on the premises where he/she lives. However, under federal law, the same offense may result in being forever prohibited from gun ownership. See 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g).
In short, misdemeanor supervision will probably not affect firearms rights unless it is for domestic violence; deferred felony supervision normally allows possession of firearms for hunting, but not the purchase of more guns or ammunition or interstate transportation; and regular or shock probation prohibits the possession, shipment, transportation and receipt of guns.
Gun laws can be confusing at times. Knowing when to carry, whether a permit is necessary and how to carry requires careful study of federal and state statutes. You can start by looking at Texas Government Code Section 411.172 and Texas Penal Code Section 46.02. Generally speaking, in Texas, you are allowed to carry your handgun in your home, vehicle and, if allowed, your workplace. There are certain exceptions and stipulations to each of these areas, so it is important to consult with an attorney before “pulling the trigger” on carrying your firearm.
** This article is not intended to be legal advice, but as a general summary reference of the issues discussed. Please refer to the state statutes directly, as listed herein for further guidance or questions.