While it may seem like Texas is lenient about gun ownership because the state protects the right to bear arms, that doesn’t mean anyone can legally carry a gun. This means it is still possible to be arrested and charged for what is called “Unlawful Carrying Weapons” (UWC).
Texas takes its gun carry laws very seriously and penalties for violations can vary. Some penalties may include up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500 for misdemeanors. Others carry fines up to $10,000 and between two to 10 years in jail for felonies.
Legally, you can own a gun and keep it in your house without a CHL. However, unless you own a concealed carry license (CHL permits), it is illegal for you to carry a gun on your body or have one near you. You can also be charged for the following reasons if you are found to be in possession of a weapon:
- You are younger than 21
- You’re not a legal Texas resident and haven’t been for less than six months before an application to become one
- You have been convicted of a felony or charged with certain misdemeanors within the last five years
- You’ve committed an offense in the last ten years and tried as a delinquent for a crime that, if tried as an adult, would have been considered a felony
- You have a restraining order against you that was filed in a domestic violence dispute
- You’ve missed child support payments
- You’re a fugitive
- You’re addicted to drugs
- You’ve been deemed incapable of sound judgement
Additionally, there are rules determining where you can’t bring a firearm, regardless of whether you have a CHL, including:
- A race track
- Secured airport areas
- Polling places on voting days
- Within 1,000 feet of prisons or jails
- In a hospital
- In an amusement park
- On school premises
- Any store that sells liquor
Whether or not you have a CHL, it is possible to be arrested and slapped with a UCW charge. Your best shot at fighting this charge is to hire a criminal defense attorney who can help you determine your rights in the situation and what your best options are moving forward.
The Goolsby Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm that helps those charged with UCW in the DFW area of Texas. We can strive to protect your rights in court and have been doing so since 1999.