Unlike some states, Texas is renowned for having an affinity for weapons. While Texas residents are notorious for owning handguns and rifles, they are not free to do what they choose with them. Texas residents must abide by the state’s weapons laws and if they fail to do so, they can face criminal charges.
For the purposes of this post, we are going to discuss the offense of “unlawful carrying weapons” under Section 46.02 of the Texas Penal Code. Under this section, you commit this offense if you intentionally or recklessly carry a club, illegal knife, or handgun and you are not:
- On your own property,
- On a property that is under your control,
- Directly on your way to your vehicle or boat (or a vehicle or boat that’s under your control), or
- Inside your own vehicle or boat, or vehicle or boat that is under your control.
You would be guilty of “unlawfully carrying a weapon” if you intentionally and knowingly carried a handgun in a vehicle or on a boat that is owned by you or under your control, and the handgun is out in plain view, unless you have a license to carry a handgun and you carried the weapon in a shoulder belt or holster.
You would also be guilty of an offense under Sec. 46.02 if you carry a weapon and you engage in criminal activity (aside from a Class C misdemeanor offense), you are a member of a street gang, or you are legally barred from possessing a firearm, for example, you were convicted of a felony and prohibited from possessing any firearms.
Penalties for Unlawful Carrying of Weapons
Generally, unlawfully carrying of a weapon is a Class A misdemeanor, unless it involves a criminal street gang, or on premises licensed to sell alcohol, in which case it’s a third-degree felony.
A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum fine of $4,000, or up to one year in jail, or both a fine and imprisonment. A third-degree felony is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison, and by a fine not to exceed $10,000.