Weapons Violations Defense Attorney in McAllen, TX
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear and possess firearms, but both the federal government and the states themselves have placed restrictions on the types and uses of firearms.
Texas enacted an open carry law in 2021 but still enforces gun laws for both types that are allowed and who can legally possess them. Weapons charges in the Lone Star State can also have serious penalty consequences if convicted.
If you find yourself facing a weapons charge in or around Edinburg, Texas, contact me at The Law Office of Aaron Fonseca. I am an experienced criminal defense attorney that is well-versed in the state’s gun and weapons laws. I will listen to your story and work with you on the best strategy going forward to exercise your full rights and achieve the optimal outcome. I also proudly serve clients in the neighboring areas of McAllen, Mission, and the Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
Possible Weapons Charges
Though open carry without a license is state law, some individuals and some weapons do not qualify. If, for instance, you are barred from owning a handgun because of a felony or domestic violence conviction, and you are found with a weapon on your person, you can be charged with illegal possession. Other possible criminal charges can result if:
You improperly discharge a weapon.
You use a weapon in the commission of a crime.
You sell or give an illegal weapon to another.
You allowed a minor to get access to an unsecured firearm.
Restrictions on Open Carry
Since 2021, a Texas resident 21 years or older no longer needs a permit for open carry, which means having a legal weapon on your person. The individual, however, must be free of any felony conviction and some misdemeanor convictions, and not excluded under federal law. The person cannot also be under an unexpired protective order.
Places where open carry is not allowed include schools, correctional facilities, and certain areas of airports. Firearms may also be restricted by private businesses and private property owners, generally by posting a sign or other notice that firearms are not allowed. Also, any firearm that is partially or wholly visible must be carried in a holster.
Weapons Considered Illegal Under Texas Law and Federal Statute
Under the Texas Penal Code, a firearm is not the only form of weapon. The Code declares other forms of weapons to be illegal under any circumstance or use, including:
Explosive weapons such as grenades, bombs, and rockets.
Rifles with barrels less than 16 inches long.
Shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long.
Any rifle or shotgun is altered so that the entire weapon is less than 26 inches long.
Improvised handguns, also known as “zip guns.”
Federal law also restricts the possession and/or use of:
Machine guns (unless lawfully possessed before May 19, 1986).
Firearms that are not federally registered.
Firearms with no serial number or with an altered or obliterated serial number (scratched out, for example).
Firearms that can't be detected by x-ray machines or metal detectors.
Texas Penal Code Section 46.02 covers unlawful possession of a firearm. The Code describes the elements of the crime as:
Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carrying a handgun on or about your person, and
Being under the age of 21; or
Having been convicted of an offense that bars them from possessing a firearm either temporarily or permanently; or
Displaying the firearm in full public view unless it is holstered; or
Carrying a firearm while intoxicated.
A first-time offense generally results in a class A misdemeanor, with potential penalties of up to one year in jail and a fine of $4,000. However, if the offense takes place in a business that sells alcohol, the crime can rise to a felony, with the potential for up to 10 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. It is vital to speak with a reliable defense attorney about your options as soon as possible.
Weapons Violations Attorney Serving McAllen, Texas
If you are facing a weapons charge, even if it’s just in the investigative stage, you need an experienced attorney to guide you and help you exercise your rights. If you’re in the McAllen area of Texas, contact me at The Law Office of Aaron Fonseca. I will meet with you and explain your legal options going forward.