Texas has always been a pretty independent state, and many residents believe very strongly in the freedom to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
What happens to those rights, however, if you’re convicted of a felony? Do you lose them forever? The answer isn’t actually that simple.
State and federal laws are at odds on this issue
Texas Penal Code Section 46.04 states that anyone with a felony conviction can legally possess a firearm at their residence once five years have passed since the disposition of their case. That means five years after being released from prison, parole, community supervision and the like. (It’s important to note that the law does not say that the firearm can be carried outside of one’s home.)
Federal law, however, is not so generous. Under federal rules, once you’ve been convicted of a felony, you can’t own a firearm under any conditions. That means you cannot have one for hunting, for display purposes (in the case of antiques) or for personal protection. You’re unlikely to find a licensed firearms dealer who will sell to you (although that doesn’t mean you can’t acquire a gun from a private seller).
Generally speaking, federal authorities tend to defer to state authorities on this issue – but there’s no guarantee that will always be the case. The potential restrictions on your rights and the various ways that could affect your future are something to keep in mind if you’re facing criminal charges today. Make sure that you take every step you can to protect your legal rights.