Gun ownership is as much a part of Texas as horses, boots, and chili (chili without beans, of course). However, if you’ve been convicted of a felony, you have a few more things to consider when it comes to owning or possessing a gun.

Let’s cover some of the important legal terms for convicted felons who are exploring their right to own or possess a firearm in Texas.

Can I own a gun if I am a convicted felon in Texas?

If a person is convicted of a felony offense, the answer to this question is, in most circumstances, simply “No.” There are exceptions, however. Let’s look to Texas Penal Code §46.04, which describes when a felon in possession of a firearm is committing a crime.

According to this law, a felon in possession of a gun is committing a crime when the following three conditions are met:

  • First, a person must possess a firearm;
  • Second, the person must possess the firearm “after a conviction and before the fifth anniversary of the person’s release from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision, whichever date is later;”
  • And third, the firearm must be possessed “at any location other than the premises at which the person lives.”

In other words, once someone has been convicted of a felony, they must wait until the fifth anniversary of their release from jail, parole, or probation (again, whichever end date is later) before they can legally possess a firearm at his/her residence only.

Is it legal for a convicted felon to own a gun under federal law?

When it comes to convicted felons owning guns, federal law differs from Texas law. Specifically, federal law prohibits the possession of a gun by any person convicted of ANY crime for which imprisonment for longer than a year is possible (18 USC § 922(g)(1)).

In fact, federal law outright prohibits any convicted felon (no matter how long their sentence) from possessing a gun. It also bans their possession of ammunition, cartridge cases, primers, propellant powder, and bullets (18 USC §921(a)(17)(A)).

Long story short? A convicted Texas felon can legally own a gun in their home so long as they meet the abovementioned legal terms. But if prosecuted under federal law, the same resident can be convicted of the crime of illegally possessing a firearm.

Can you own a gun under deferred adjudication?

Deferred adjudication is a type of community supervision where there is enough evidence of guilt to convict, but the court defers a finding of guilt. It is not considered a conviction.

So, can an individual who is charged with a felony crime but receives deferred adjudication possess a gun?

According to Texas law, yes.

According to federal law, not until the individual has completed the requirements set out in the terms of their deferred adjudication. After that time, there is neither a state nor a federal bar to that person’s legal possession of a gun.

Can I own a gun while being indicted for a felony?

If someone has only been charged with a felony, they are not yet legally viewed as a convicted felon. In Texas, accusation alone does not prevent a person from owning a gun.

Federal law is a little less clear. Specifically, the federal statute states that a person “under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” is not allowed to “ship or transport… any firearm or receive any such firearm” (18 USC §922(n)).

The federal code doesn’t say a person under indictment can’t possess a gun, but it does prohibit the transport or receiving a firearm.

Understand your gun rights

Charged or convicted of a felony? Unsure of whether or not you’re within your rights to possess a gun? Thiessen Law Firm’s Ronnie Yeates, a retired Assistant District Attorney and 07/02 Federal Firearms Licensee, is here to help.

Let us fight for you. For aggressive, professional representation, request a consultation online or call Thiessen Law Firm today at 713-864-9000.

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Ronnie Yeates