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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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28 views   |   1   |   Last updated on Jul 01, 2020    Guns

Texas Penal Code section 46.04 addresses the unlawful possession of a firearm by a person who has been convicted of a felony:

Sec. 46.04. UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF FIREARM. (a) A person who has been convicted of a felony commits an offense if he possesses a firearm:
    (1) after conviction and before the fifth anniversary of the person's release from confinement following conviction of the felony or the person's release from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision, whichever date is later; or
    (2) after the period described by Subdivision (1), at any location other than the premises at which the person lives.

Federal law, on the other hand, is stricter (see 18 U.S. Code 922(g)):

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person -
    (1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
    […]
to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

What qualifies as a firearm? It's important to review the legal definitions of the terms used in the law to understand when and how they apply. For example, some antique firearms are exempt from both the state and federal legal definitions of a firearm. See Can a felon own a black powder gun?

Because both state and federal law seem to be in conflict, it is difficult to provide a simple answer to this question. Other factors also come into play. For example, what if it is the spouse of the person with a felony conviction that owns and keeps a firearm at the home? Interpreting and applying these laws to your particular situation requires the assistance of an attorney. Our librarians are not able to provide legal advice nor can we advise you on whether your situation complies with the law.

See our Felons & Firearms page for resources that help explain these legal issues. An attorney could advise you and provide a legal opinion specific to your situation.

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