Houston Gun Control Laws – Do You Know Your Rights?
For many people, guns are an important part of life. Like anyone involved with potentially hazardous materials, all gun owners should know and follow the law. Whether you are thinking about buying a gun or are working with a criminal defense attorney in Houston, TX, it’s also important that you know your rights. Here are 6 frequently asked questions about gun control laws to get you started.
Who Can Own a Gun?
Most people who have been citizens of Texas for at least six months and can provide accurate identification are able to purchase a gun. There are exceptions, however. It is illegal for you to buy a gun if you are younger than 21. A criminal background will prevent you from buying a gun, or at least delay the process. Beyond violent crimes, this includes those who haven’t paid their taxes or child support payments. You may also be denied the right to a gun if you are deemed unable to make sound judgments with the weapon.
Is There a Waiting Period?
There is no waiting period for purchasing a gun in Houston.
How Should Guns Be Stored in Private Homes?
The only major restriction to the storage of a loaded gun within your own home is that it must be in a place where it can’t be accessed by a minor. In cases where a child might still get access to the gun, the gun should have a trigger lock.
Do Handguns Need to Be Concealed?
Until recently, you needed a concealed handgun license. It is now legal to openly carry a handgun in most places, though there are exceptions. Your gun must be concealed when you are on public or private streets, sidewalks, or parking areas, for example. You should also keep your handgun concealed on a college campus.
Can a Gun Be Carried in a Vehicle?
As a general rule, handguns may be carried in vehicles, but should be kept out of sight. There are no laws that prohibit you from carrying long guns in your vehicle.
When Is the Use of Force or Deadly Force Justified?
For many gun owners, the primary reason for carrying a weapon is the protection of self, loved ones, and property, which makes the question of the justification of force especially important. Force may be used to the degree that it seems necessary to combat a dangerous, unlawful force from another party. Deadly force (meaning you will likely seriously injure or kill the opposing party) is justified in several types of situations. A gun may be used if someone unlawfully enters your home, vehicle, or business or if an attacker tries to remove you from your property against your will. You may also use deadly force when you are trying to stop a violent crime such as a robbery, an assault, or murder.
Before you buy a gun, make sure you know and understand any relevant laws. Policies and laws frequently vary in different areas and change over time, so talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney to keep yourself informed about updates. Ask any questions that come to mind so that you feel confident moving forward and exercising your rights within the bounds of the law.