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New Texas Gun Laws Lift Restrictions on Handheld Firearms

Posted on in Criminal Defense

fort worth criminal defense lawyerThe state of Texas is known as one of the most gun-friendly parts of the United States. The state’s lawmakers have emphatically stated their support for citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Even though many people have called for increased gun control to prevent firearm deaths, including those in mass shootings such as the incidents that took place in El Paso and Midland in 2019, Texas has taken steps to allow more people to own and carry firearms. While the passage of a new law has lifted some restrictions, Texans should be sure to understand their rights so they can avoid potential weapons charges.

“Constitutional Carry” of Firearms

On June 16, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new bill into law that will allow people in the state to purchase and own handguns without the need to obtain a license, and these weapons may be carried without the requirement to obtain a permit. This law eliminates the previous requirements that applied to gun owners, including submitting fingerprints, completing four to six hours of training, passing a written test, and demonstrating proficiency with shooting firearms. The new law goes into effect on September 1, 2021.

With this law, Texas has implemented a system known as “constitutional carry,” which gives most people over the age of 21 (or members of the military over the age of 18) the right to own and carry firearms. However, those prohibited by law from owning or carrying a firearm, such as people convicted of certain types of crimes, will continue to face these restrictions. In addition, people are prohibited from carrying handguns in certain locations, including courthouses, amusement parks, bars, airports, racetracks, sporting events, correctional facilities, and polling places.

Firearm owners in Texas may still apply for a license to carry a firearm. This will provide them with protections if they travel to states with reciprocal agreements that require firearm licenses. It will also ensure that they will not face criminal charges if they bring a handgun to a location where carrying firearms is prohibited and leave after being given notice that they are in violation of these restrictions.

While the 2019 Texas Safety Action Report included multiple recommendations for changes to the law that would improve firearm safety in the state, few of these recommendations have been passed. The implemented changes include creating an active shooter alert system that would provide information about these incidents to people throughout the state. Lawmakers also passed a “lie and try” law that makes it a state crime to lie on a background check form when buying a firearm.

Contact Our Plano Weapons Charges Defense Attorney

Even though the gun laws have been relaxed in Texas, there are still a number of situations that may result in a person being charged with weapons violations. If you are facing criminal charges, The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. can provide you with legal representation during your case. Contact our Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer at 214-303-9600 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Sources:

https://www.texastribune.org/2021/06/04/texas-constitutional-carry-el-paso/

https://www.caller.com/story/news/local/texas/state-bureau/2021/06/01/texas-open-carry-law-explained-heres-what-you-need-know/7473460002/

https://www.kcentv.com/article/news/local/texas/what-you-need-to-know-about-new-texas-gun-laws/500-af66be06-c5f2-4cba-abf0-309d85dc2939

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