If you are convicted of a crime involving a firearm in Texas, your gun could be taken away permanently if certain elements apply. It will be forfeited to the state, but you may be able to get it back in certain situations.
If you are wondering if you can get your gun, knife or other weapon back from the state, there is no clear yes or no answer. It will depend on the situation. If you have previous convictions, the offense occurred in a certain location or if the weapon is prohibited under Texas law, you may not be able to get your weapon back. Ultimately, your best option is to reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney for help with your case.
What the Law Says
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 18.19 discusses the disposition of firearms after being charged with a weapons offense. Once you are convicted of an offense involving the use of a weapon, you must forfeit your weapon. The state can then destroy your weapon or sell it.
If you are convicted of a weapons offense under Texas Penal Code 46, you can get your weapon back in most situations. There are some exceptions, though, such as the following:
- You have been convicted of a previous firearms offense under Texas Penal Code 46. If you have multiple convictions, you are considered a risk.
- The weapon is prohibited under Texas law. Even though Texas is fairly lenient when it comes to allowing residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights, not all weapons are allowed. Prohibited weapons include brass knuckles, zip guns (improvised firearms), pepper spray and other chemical devices, armor-piercing ammunition, and tire-deflating devices such as spike strips and caltrops. In addition, certain weapons are prohibited in Texas unless they are registered with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. These include machine guns, rifles with barrels under 16 inches, shotguns with barrels under 18 inches, firearm silencers, sawed-off shotguns, and explosives such as rockets, bombs and grenades. If you are caught in possession of any of the above weapons—even if you don’t use them—you could face misdemeanor or even felony charges.
- The weapon is considered stolen property. In this case, the gun will be returned to its rightful owner.
- You do not request the weapon in time. In order to get your weapon back, you must request it before the 61st day after your conviction.
- The offense occurred at a certain location. If the weapons offense occurred at a youth center, school, playground or arcade center, your weapon won’t be returned to you.
- You are a threat to the community. Based on the circumstances, the court may not allow you to get your weapon back if you pose a threat.
Illegal Knives and Clubs
Certain knives and clubs are legal to possess in the privacy of your home but are illegal to carry while out in public. These include knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches, throwing knives, swords, spears and daggers. Illegal clubs include tomahawks, nightsticks, blackjacks and mace. Being caught in possession of any of these weapons is typically considered a Class A misdemeanor.
These weapons will also get confiscated by the state. You will likely get these weapons returned to you unless any of the above situations apply to your case.
Get Help From a Collin County Criminal Lawyer
Both state and federal firearm violations are treated as serious crimes. Your weapon will be taken away, but you can get it back by understanding the process and seeing if you qualify under the factors listed above.
A Collin County firearm offense attorney from Rosenthal & Wadas can assess your situation and see if getting your weapon back is an option in your case. We have the skills and experience to handle even the most complex weapons charges. To learn more about your rights after being charged with a weapons offense, contact us today. Give us a call at (972) 369-0577 to schedule a free consultation.