In Texas, you are required to have a license to carry a handgun away from your property. However, even with a license to carry (“LTC”), there are some places in Texas where it is illegal to carry a firearm.
Where are Firearms Prohibited in Texas?
There are six locations under Texas’ Places Weapons Prohibited law where it is a criminal offense to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possess a firearm of any sort.
- It is illegal to carry firearms on school premises, school buses, or any grounds or building where an activity sponsored by a school or education institution is being conducted. It does matter if the school is a public or private institution. There is an exception where an individual is carrying a handgun pursuant to written regulations or written authorization. Individuals can carry concealed handguns on a college campus if they have an LTC.
- Polling Places. It is illegal to have a firearm at a polling place on the day of an election or while early voting is in progress.
- Court buildings. It is illegal to carry a firearm in court buildings or offices unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the court.
- Secured airport areas. It is a defense if the person checked all firearms as baggage in accordance with federal or state law regulations before entering the secured airport area. It is also a defense if the individual had a concealed weapon and an LTC and immediately exited the screening area after an officer informed him of this defense.
- Execution Locations. Firearms are prohibited within 1,000 feet of a location that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice designated as a place of execution on the day that a death sentence is imposed. The defendant must have received notice that weapons were prohibited. There is an exception for individuals carrying a firearm while driving on a public road or at their place of employment or residence.
Who is Not Covered Under the Places Weapons Prohibited Law in Texas?
Certain individuals are exempt from the Places Weapons Prohibited Law in Texas. These individuals include:
- Law enforcement officers or special investigators;
- Active judicial officers and district, county, and municipal attorneys and their assistants; and
- Under many circumstances, parole officers, community supervision officers, corrections department officers, honorably retired peace officers, and federal criminal investigators.
If you are a member of the armed forces, a member of the national guard for a penal institution, or an officer of the court acting in your official duty, you cannot be found guilty of carrying a firearm in the first four categories. You can still be guilty of carrying a firearm in a secured airport area or place of execution.
What Are the Penalties for Carrying a Firearm in a Place Where It is Prohibited?
Carrying a firearm in a prohibited place is a third-degree felony in Texas. It is punishable by two to ten years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
What is Trespass by a License Holder with a Concealed Weapon?
Under most circumstances, Texans with an LTC can carry a concealed weapon into a residence or business. However, you can be charged with “trespass by a license holder with a concealed weapon” if you (1) carried a concealed handgun on the property of another without effective consent and (2) you received notice from the homeowner or business owner that firearms are forbidden. Notice can be either oral or written.
It is a defense if you promptly departed from the property after being personally told by the owner that firearms were prohibited.
What are the Penalties for Trespass by a License Holder with a Concealed Weapon?
Typically, trespass by a license holder with a concealed weapon will be charged as a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $200. If the defendant was personally given oral notice that firearms were prohibited and did not leave the premises, the charge is increased to a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.
Your Sugar Land Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing Texas firearm charges, you should reach out to a qualified Sugar Land criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Adam Capetillo is a Fort Bend County native who will protect your rights and provide a skilled and aggressive defense. Call Capetillo Law Firm today for a free consultation.