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Can I Have a Gun If I Was a Felon?

Having a felony charge on your record can cripple one’s future in countless ways, including owning a gun. Texas criminalizes the possession of a firearm by felons who have been convicted of a crime with a punishment exceeding one year.

By law, a convicted felon cannot be in possession of a firearm. “Firearm” means “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.” The penalties for violators of this statute can be severe. Under Texas Penal Code §§ 12.33, 46.04, the unlawful possession of a firearm is a third-degree felony with a punishment range of two to ten years for a defendant with one prior felony conviction and a fine up to $10,000.

“Possession” under Texas means, “actual care, custody, control or management. Possession is a voluntary act if the possessor knowingly obtains or receives the thing possessed or is aware of his control of the thing for a sufficient time to permit him to terminate his control.” Because of the broad definition, a person could be in the same house or vehicle as a gun and that could be enough to incite they have “control” over the weapon.

As a caveat under Texas state law, defense attorney Shawn McDonald explains that a convicted felon may possess a firearm inside his or her home for self-protection once five years have elapsed from probation or parole. The felon is not, however, permitted to leave home with the weapon – ever. Texas law is uncompromising on this statue, and it will not be lifted in the felon’s lifetime.

This means a convicted felon would never be able to obtain a Licence to Carry, have a gun in the car for protection, hunt with a weapon, and so on. A felon would not be able to travel to another state to obtain a gun either – possession of a firearm by a felon is against the law.