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Gun Laws   Tags: gun rights, guns, weapons  

This legal research guide provides information on federal and Texas gun laws, including concealed handgun licenses and local regulation of firearms and shooting ranges.
Last Updated: Dec 5, 2014 URL: http://guides.sll.texas.gov/gun-laws Print Guide RSS Updates
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Research from Home

If you have a TexLaw ID, you can check out an OverDrive eBook title or access our remote databases. Don't have a TexLaw ID? Texas residents can register for a TexLaw ID from home! Learn more about how to register from home.

Below is an eBook title that may help you with your research on gun laws.

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Texas criminal practice guide
Call Number: KFT 9219 T36
Publication Date: 2014
This guide's six volumes are arranged by section to correspond with the progression of the Texas criminal justice system, making their detailed information easy to access. Each volume contains a number of chapters divided into four parts covering legal backgrounds, procedural practice tips, sample forms, and research resources and bibliographies. (publisher description)

 

Resources at the State Law Library

Below are some of the library resources that can provide further guidance on this topic. The Texas State Law Library has many other resources in addition to the highlights we present below. Please call us at (512) 463-1722 if you have any questions about these materials.

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O'Connor's Texas annotated criminal codes plus - George McCall Sechrest
Call Number: KFT 9205.99 S4
Publication Date: Annual
This annually updated volume contains the text of the Texas Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Rules of Appellate Procedure, and Rules of Evidence along with selections from the Health & Safety and Government Codes. It is annotated with references to relevant case law and includes helpful charts.

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The Texas gun owner's guide - Alan Korwin and Georgene Lockwood
Call Number: REF DESK KFT 3941 K67 2010
ISBN: 1889632252
Publication Date: 2010
This book, which is approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety for Concealed Handgun License (CHL) training, discusses the major state and federal laws surrounding gun ownership. It answers many common questions concerning where a person can bear and discharge firearms and issues surrounding self-defense.

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Traveler's guide to the firearm laws of the fifty states - J. Scott Kappas
Call Number: REF DESK KF 3941 K37 2013
Publication Date: 2013
This book provides a single source which gun owners travelling across state lines may consult to understand the relevant state laws. State laws can vary as to whether a gun owner can carry a handgun openly or concealed, whether it can be loaded, and where it should be stored in the vehicle. It is organized by state and the author ranks the laws of each state on a spectrum from most to least restrictive.

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What every Texas lawyer needs to know about firearms law - State Bar of Texas
Call Number: KFT 3941 W5 2012
Publication Date: 2012
This Continuing Legal Education course guide covers many topics which may interest attorneys who handle cases involving firearms. Session topics include "stand your ground legislation," concealed handgun licenses, recent changes in the law, restoration of rights, and many others.

Who Can I Contact?

Introduction to Gun Laws

State and federal laws and rules regulate many aspects of gun ownership, use, sales, and manufacture. Understanding this area of the law can be challenging because firearm possession and discharge come up in a variety of contexts. For example, the Texas Penal Code stipulates where one may possess a firearm, the Texas Local Government Code authorizes municipalities to establish further restrictions, and federal law may impose additional restrictions. As this guide is intended to be a starting point in research, it is always wise to pose specific legal questions on this topic to an attorney.

Texas Law

Below you will find references to areas of the Texas law that govern use of firearms and issues related to firearms sales. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, you may want to look at the "Plain English" resources on this page or speak to an attorney.

  • Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code sec. 125.0015
    This section, "Common Nuisance," describes the discharge of firearms as a civil nuisance.
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Code sec. 62.012
    This section describes the offense of discharging a firearm across a property line while engaging in recreational shooting or hunting.
  • Texas Penal Code ch 9. subchapter C
    Some of the provisions within this subchapter, "Protection of Persons," are often referred to as the "Castle Doctrine" or "Stand your ground law." This section discusses some circumstances under which a person may use deadly force to defend themselves or others.
  • Texas Penal Code sec. 42.01
    This section, "Disorderly Conduct," outlines the criminal offense of discharging or displaying a firearm in certain situations.
  • Texas Penal Code ch. 46
    This chapter, "Weapons," discusses criminal offenses related to carrying, buying, and selling firearms. It also defines firearms and other types of weapons.

Federal Law

  • 18 USC 44
    This chapter broadly regulates many aspects of sales, purchase, and possession of firearms. It primarily focuses on regulating interstate commerce by limiting most transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers, and importers. This chapter includes provisions enacted by the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (1993).
  • 26 USC 53
    This act, "Machine Guns, Destructive Devices, and Certain Other Firearms," regulates certain types of weapons such as machine guns and firearm silencers. This chapter includes provisions enacted by the National Firearms Act (1934).
  • U.S. Constitution, Second Amendment
    This section establishes the often-cited "right to bear arms."

Explained in "Plain English"

Because Texas and federal law may not be easy to understand, below you'll find a collection of resources that help to explain the law in "Plain English."

 

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms FAQ
    This page answers many frequently asked questions related to firearms licenses and commerce. Also included is a compilation of the top 10 frequently asked questions.
  • Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide [PDF]
    Created by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, this guide is a comprehensive compilation of important laws, regulations, and FAQs related to firearms.
  • Legal Q&A (Texas Municipal League)
    This Q&A discusses the authority of Texas cities to regulate firearms. Questions mostly cover carrying firearms. Accompanying chart available at http://www.tml.org/p/Firearms%20Charts%20for%20Legal%20Q&A.xlsx
  • Second Amendment
    This brief article from Wex, a project of the Legal Information Institute, explains the history of and important legal cases related to the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It provides links to noted cases which have shaped the legal community's understanding of the right to bear arms such as District of Columbia v. Heller (2008).

Concealed Handgun Licenses

  • Texas Concealed Handgun Laws and Selected Statutes [PDF]
    This guide from the Texas Department of Public Safety compiles relevant laws for concealed handguns into one useful downloadable publication.
  • Texas Concealed Handgun License FAQ
    This FAQ from the Texas Department of Public Safety discusses many aspects of the CHL licensing process as well as dos and don'ts for carrying a concealed weapon.
  • Agreements with Other States
    If you have questions about whether your CHL is valid in another state or if you are travelling to Texas from another state, refer to this map for information about CHL reciprocity between states. Provided by the Texas Deparment of Public Safety, this map indicates whether or not Texas has an agreement with the state and a copy of the agreement if applicable.
  • Texas Government Code ch. 411 subchapter H
    This section discusses concealed handgun licenses. These licenses are regulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
  • Texas Penal Code sec. 30.06
    Some property owners may post a notice indicating that concealed handguns are not permitted on the premises. This section, "Trespass by Holder of License to Carry Concealed Handgun," discusses proper notice and punishment for noncompliance.

Local Regulation of Firearms and Shooting Ranges

 

Legal Research Guides from the Texas State Law Library

The Texas State Law Library reference librarians have compiled legal research guides for specific areas of the law. These guides contain resources that can help you research a legal issue. The American Association of Law Libraries has a guide for Non-Lawyers on How to Research a Legal Problem. If you have any questions, please contact us at (512) 463-1722 or at library@sll.texas.gov.

Important:

The information provided on this page has been prepared for general information purposes only and should not be construed as, nor substituted for, legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for advice specific to your fact situation. Your local bar association or the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Information Service (1-800-252-9690) can assist you with locating an attorney.

Some of the electronic resources we refer to in this guide may be in PDF format. Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view PDFs.
 

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