Weapons charges in Texas generally trigger images of large numbers of guns and/or knives. However, when it comes to weapons charges under the law, it doesn’t end with guns or knives. There are many things that are considered weapons.
It’s important to understand what types of weapons are outlined in weapons laws in Texas, especially those that deal with both lawful and unlawful carrying of weapons.
If you don’t know what constitutes a weapon, then it can be difficult to avoid breaking that law, after all!
Here is what you need to know about weapons charges in Texas, including what is considered a weapon under the law and what types of weapons charges are most common in the state.
Changes to Weapons Laws in Texas
In the last few years, Texas has seen a few changes to its weapons laws. For example, it used to be illegal to possess brass knuckles in Texas, but it became legal after September 2019. Gun laws have changed in recent years, as well. As of September 2021, anyone over the age of 21 who is legally able to own a firearm can carry it on their person in public, with only a few exceptions.
However, that doesn’t mean that all weapons laws have changed. In fact, when it comes to some illegal weapons, you can still very much violate the law – and you may not even be aware that you’re doing it.
Illegal Weapons in Texas
Texas may be viewed as a state that is lenient when it comes to weapons, but there are still several types of weapons that are illegal to carry or even have on your property. You cannot possess, sell, repair, or transport any of the following weapons in the state, or you could face weapons charges:
- Armor-piercing ammunition – This includes any type of ammunition that is made to go through metal or body armor.
- Zip gun – This is a combination of devices or a device that has been changed into a firearm.
- Improvised explosive device – An explosive device made of parts designed to cause injury, death, or damage to property.
- Chemical dispensing device – A device used to diffuse a substance that can cause an unpleasant or harmful reaction in someone. This does not include items like pepper spray, which is sold for personal protection.
- Tire deflation device – A device that will puncture tires stop a wheeled vehicle from moving when driven over.
Furthermore, there are items that you are allowed to have, but they require registration with the National Firearms Registration in order for you to legally possess them. These items are also required to have a transfer record on file with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives:
- Machine gun
- Short-barreled gun
- Explosive weapon
Places Even Legal Weapons Aren’t Allowed
There are limits to where a person can have a legal weapon in Texas, as well. For example, you can be charged with a weapons crime if you have a weapon in these places:
- Professional sporting events
- Businesses that focus on the sale of alcohol
- Correctional facilities
- Mental health facilities
- Polling places on election day
- Within 1,000 feet of a place where someone is to be executed
Additionally, anyone who is intoxicated and carrying a firearm anywhere other than their own property may be charged with the crime of unlawfully carrying a weapon.