We sometimes get calls from potential clients asking, “Can a convicted felon own a gun in Texas?” It’s a good question. Felons who have served their time deserve to be informed about all of their rights, including their gun rights.
Yet while we’d like to give you a simple yes or no answer to the question, “Can a convicted felon own a gun in Texas?” there really isn’t one. Here’s why.
It’s a “no” until it’s a “yes” until it’s a “no” again…
State and federal law differ when it comes to felons and possession of a firearm. Federal law does not allow a felon to possess a firearm. However, gun laws for felons in Texas are a bit different. In Texas, a felon can possess a firearm at his or her residence but only once five years have passed since the disposition of his or her conviction.
But even so, things still aren’t so cut and dry. Federal law does trump state law. So technically, even if a felon has abided by state laws and possessed a firearm legally, they could still be charged under federal law.
But there’s another “but.” The federal policy says to defer to state law. In other words, a convicted felon can possess a firearm in Texas because federal laws defer to state laws (with some exceptions depending on what you were convicted of). You can learn more about these differences by reading our article on Texas vs. federal gun laws for felons.
What about deferred felony gun ownership?
Let’s say you weren’t fully convicted of a crime. Instead, you received deferred adjudication. In this case, you can possess a firearm in Texas. Since you are not a convicted felon, your right to own a firearm has not changed. This is also true federally.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor instead, you can read our article that answers the question, “Can you buy a gun with a misdemeanor drug charge?”
What qualifies as unlawful possession?
While a convicted felon may be allowed to possess a firearm in Texas, there are still a variety of ways you can get into trouble for unlawful possession (or become unable to possess a firearm in general).
For example, if you were charged with domestic violence, in particular, you are not allowed to possess a firearm (even under Texas law). Illegal citizens, fugitives, and unlawful drug users are also unable to possess a firearm.
If you want to learn more about who can and cannot carry or possess a firearm, check out everything you need to know about unlawful carrying of a weapon, including answers to questions regarding:
- Texas concealed carry laws
- Gun charge for a first-time offender
- How to find a Texas gun rights restoration lawyer
Have more questions about gun rights in Texas? We have answers.
Have more questions similar to, “Can a convicted felon own a gun in Texas?” Curious about particular issues, such as “Can a convicted felon own a black powder gun in Texas?” or “Can the spouse of a convicted felon own a gun?”
The experienced gun rights lawyers at Thiessen law firm can help.
Unlawful possession of a firearm is not taken lightly, even in Texas. It is considered a third-degree felony, which can land you up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. So if you’re charged with unlawful possession or if you’ve been charged with a felony, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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