Gun / Firearm Crimes

Texas is a state that strongly supports the right to bear arms. While the state has lenient gun restrictions, there are still laws that gun owners must abide by. Failing to do so can result in time in prison and expensive fines.

Let an experienced gun law attorney guide you through the legal process. Take the first step in building your defense by contacting The Benken Law Firm.

Criminal Defense Attorney for Gun / Firearm Crimes in Harris County, TX

The sooner you contact an attorney, the better your chances of receiving a more favorable outcome in the courtroom. Brian Benken is an experienced trial lawyer with over 30 years of experience and who is ready to use his experience to defend you.

Schedule a free case consultation with The Benken Law Firm today. Call (713) 223 - 4051. Brian Benken represents clients in every area throughout Harris County such as Downtown Houston, Sunnyside, Braeswood Place, West University Place and many others in the surrounding area. 

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How does Texas Define Firearm?

When we think of what a firearm is we typically think of it as a device that expels bullets. Texas law has a precise legal definition of such an item, and it’s defined under chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code as:

  • Any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use.

Certain guns are not classified as a firearm under the penal code. These types of weapons include those that have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other characteristics of weapons made illegally. Antique or collector firearms manufactured before 1899 are also not considered firearms under Texas law.

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Constitutional Carry & Expunging UCW Convictions 

In the month of July 2021, the state of Texas finally passed HB 1927, otherwise known as the Permitless Carry Bill. The new legislation allows Texans to open or conceal carry their firearms as long as they’re over the age of 21 and not in a prohibited area. In addition to this, the passage of this new bill means anyone convicted of unlawful carry before September 1st, 2021 can expunge their record completely.

Prior to HB 1927, people convicted of unlawful carry were unable to scrub their records and were forced to suffer with the consequences of having a criminal record. Many of them hardworking and productive Texans who had never committed a crime in their life. Thankfully, they now have a second chance at a clean record with the new Permitless Carry Bill.

However, it’s important to remember you can still be charged with unlawful carry despite the new constitutional carry laws. You could be charged with unlawful carry if you open or conceal carried a firearm and:

  • You are under the age of 21
  • Were convicted of an offense under Section 22.01 (a)(1), 22.07, 22.05, or 42.01(a)(7) or (8) in the last five years and you were not:
    • On your own premises or premises under your control; or
    • Inside or directly en route to an automobile or watercraft you own
  • You were at one of the following places:
    • Racetrack
    • Polling place on election day
    • Government court or office premises
    • Secured area at the airport
    • Within 1,000 feet of where an execution by the Department of Criminal Justice on the day the sentence of death is to occur
    • At a high school, collegiate or professional sporting event
    • At a correctional facility
    • At a civil commitment facility
    • At a hospital or nursing facility licensed under the Health and Safety Code
    • At a mental hospital
    • At an amusement park

The unlawful carrying of a firearm is charged as a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000.

The crime has the potential to be elevated. If you are found unlawfully carrying a firearm on any property licensed by the state to sell alcohol, you could be charged with a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is punishable but up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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Firearm Smuggling

Texas established laws criminalizing gun smuggling to regulate ensure that weapons don’t get smuggled into South America. This crime typically involves exporting, selling, or sending firearms that were obtained illegally.

Under section 46.14 of the Texas Penal Code, you can be convicted of firearm smuggling if you:

  • Knowingly engage in transporting or transferring a firearm you know was acquired in violation of the law of any state in the United States.

You are considered to engage in transporting or transferring a firearm if you have engaged in the conduct more than once or for profit or any other form of remuneration.

Firearm smuggling is charged as a third-degree felony. If convicted you could face two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Charges could be elevated to a second-degree felony if the offense was committed with more than three weapons in a single criminal episode. A second-degree felony is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If you’re convicted of firearm smuggling, the law can require law enforcement to seize and forfeit assets that were used in connection to smuggling firearms.

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Additional Resources for Gun / Firearm Charges in Houston, TX

Weapons | Texas Penal Code Chapter 46– Follow this link to read the full text of the chapter that governs weapons charges in Texas. You can read the precise legal text of the crimes mentioned in this page as well as additional crimes such as prohibited weapons, unlawful transfer and making a firearm accessible to children.

Texas Gun Laws | National Rifle Association– Visit the NRA website to learn more about gun laws in Texas. The site features laws on purchase, possession and carrying a firearm. The NRA is a civil rights organization that strives to protect the Second Amendment.

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Felony Criminal Defense Attorney for Gun / Firearm Charges in Houston, TX

Were you arrested in Harris County for a firearm related charge? If so, take the first step in your defense and contact The Benken Law Firm today. Brian Benken is a certified private investigator and defense lawyer that knows how to handle investigations and can guide you through the criminal process.

Let The Benken Law Firm represent you. Schedule a free case consultation. Call (713) 223 - 4051. Brian Benken defends clients of firearm charges in all communities throughout Harris County. Some of these communities include, but are not limited to, Uptown, Midtown, Montrose, The Heights, Piney Point Village and many others.

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