A New Law Might Help Your Case
For residents of Texas who are facing weapons charges, a new bill signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott could help you get those charges dismissed. Further, if you were convicted of a weapons charge before the passing of HB 1927, you might be eligible to have your conviction overturned.
You May Be Eligible To Have Your Weapons Charges Expunged
In Dallas County, the District Attorney’s (DA’s) Office is reviewing cases involving people arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon. Eligible persons should be 21 years of age or older and not forbidden by state or federal law from possessing a firearm. If the District Attorney finds a person is eligible to have their weapons charge or conviction removed, this will take place at the DA’s annual expunction expo.
This year’s expunction expo has already passed (July 6-26), thus, one will have to wait for the 2022 expo to take place. It’s important to note that this event is generally for those who have been charged with a crime but have not yet been convicted. Dallas County’s expunction expo is a free event where volunteer criminal attorneys assist people to clear their criminal records.
Since the event first took place in 2017, over 1,000 individuals have successfully been granted a new lease on life with a clean criminal record. This opens the doors to more employment opportunities, being able to apply for certain types of business licenses, among other things. Nevertheless, there is no reason for you to wait for next year’s expo — hiring a skilled attorney to help you take advantage of this rare opportunity is but a phone call away.
DA John Creuzot told Fox 4 News (Dallas) that ” … the point is a conviction has never, ever been eligible for expunction period for any offense. Never. And now this particular statute does allow that. And my point is, I don’t think people understand that that’s embedded in that.”
According to Bill HB 1927 passed by the Texas Legislature, “Relating to provisions governing the carrying of a firearm by a person who is 21 years of age or older and not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing the firearm and to other provisions related to the carrying, possessing, transporting, or storing of a firearm or other weapon.”
It has helped almost 1,000 people to date.
Understanding ‘Permitless Carry’ or ‘Constitutional Carry’
It’s never been so easy in the modern era to carry a gun without a permit in so many states. Over the past seven years, 10 states have rolled back long-standing licensing, training, and registration requirements for carriers of concealed weapons under a novel legislative philosophy called “constitutional carry.”
Who Can Carry
Firearms range in various sizes and classifications, so it’s important that one knows and understands what you can legally carry. The Texas State Law Library states:
Texas law does not specifically put restrictions on who can carry a long gun such as a rifle. However, some people are prohibited from owning or possessing any firearm by law.
The Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) states the following:
The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition, to include any person:
- Convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
- who is a fugitive from justice;
- who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802);
- who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
- who is an illegal alien;
- who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
- who has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
- who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner; or
- who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
Texas’s firearm restrictions are typically weaker than federal laws and have notable holes that permit people with significant histories of violent behavior to obtain firearms. Those prohibited from owning or possessing firearms include:
- Someone convicted of a felony; who is on parole, mandatory supervision, or under community supervision.
- Someone who has been released from confinement following conviction of a misdemeanor.
- When someone is released from community supervision following conviction of a misdemeanor.
- Anyone who has been ordered by the court to attend mental health services.
- Persons subject to domestic violence-related protective orders issued by a court.
- Anyone convicted of a Class A domestic violence misdemeanor for five years after being released from custody or court-ordered supervision.
Where and How To Carry In Texas
Just because Texas has removed the requirement to have a “license to carry” in order to carry a handgun in Texas, there are still some limitations. For example, private properties such as restaurants and other businesses can prohibit the carry of firearms on the property. However, a property owner must give proper notice even if it’s orally.
Furthermore, certain types of private property are always considered “prohibited places” as per Sec. 46.03 of the Texas Penal Code. Then there are places such as schools, hospitals, certain passenger transportation vehicles, any government building, among others. Such prohibitions fall under Sec. 46.03. If you require further information and/or understanding, please contact our office today.
If someone visits from another state, remember that what’s legal in your state might not be legal in Texas. According to the Texas State Law Library, “HB 1927 does not include language addressing the reciprocity agreements in place for certain out-of-state visitors who wish to carry in Texas.” In other words, Texas has reciprocity agreements with other states — meaning that a concealed carry license issued in that particular state will also be recognized in Texas.
As far as transporting firearms, one should obey the rules set forth by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Additionally, the Texas State Law Library states the following:
Generally speaking, Texas law allows people to transport a handgun in their vehicle or in a vehicle “under the person’s control” as long as they are otherwise allowed to possess a firearm. Texas Penal Code Section 46.02 creates an offense for the unlawful carrying of handguns and in subsection (a)(2)(b), makes an exception to unlawful carry for those who are:
(B) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.
(a-1) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control at any time in which: (1) the handgun is in plain view unless the person is 21 years of age or older or is licensed to carry a handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, and the handgun is carried in a holster;
As for long guns. Texas has little to no restrictions on transporting rifles in a motor vehicle or watercraft. Texas also doesn’t require rifles to be visible when they’re transported.
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