Although Texas is often considered to be one of the friendliest states when it comes to legally possessing guns, people should keep in mind that the Lone Star State also maintains a long list of ammunition explosives and weapons that are considered illegal and could result in criminal charges for those who carry, handle or sell them.
The list of weapons that are unlawful to carry in Texas is not limited to firearms. Certain knives and bludgeon weapons such as billy clubs are also illegal. It is important to be familiar with these banned weapons as they can often be purchased online or from out-of-state vendors, but bringing them into Texas would be a criminal offense.
The statutory criminal charges for unlawful carrying a banned weapon in Texas begin at the Class A misdemeanor level, but they can be enhanced to a felony offense under some circumstances. For example, a person arrested for carrying an illegal weapon into a hospital. Even walking into a restaurant with a banned weapon may result in felony charges if the establishment has a license to serve alcoholic beverages.
According to the Texas Penal Code, the misdemeanor illegal weapons in Texas include:
- Brass knuckles
- Billy clubs and other strike weapons
Carrying the following weapons may result in third degree felony charges:
- Machine guns
- Sawed-off shotguns
- Zip guns or improvised firearms
- Silenced firearms
- Chemical weapons
Armor-piercing bullets and explosives are also on the list. Other weapons include swords, spears and double-edged knives.
There are various provisions in the Texas illegal weapons statute that can be effectively used by defendants. For example, if the weapon was registered in another state under the National Firearms Act or if the person is authorized to carry the weapon as a member of the military or law enforcement.
The prohibited weapons statute also implies that defendants must have the knowledge or intent to carry these weapons in order to establish guilt. Based on this argument, criminal defense attorneys can formulate a strategy to show that their clients may not have fully possessed the illegal weapons.
If you have been accused of owning a weapon banned in Texas, schedule a free consultation with The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp at 713-868-6100.