Episode 4 - Firearm Laws in Texas
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Your hosts are Brian Abercrombie and Samuel Sanchez. Brian has been practicing law for 18 years and his board certified that sort of legal specialization in the area of family law. Sam has been practicing for 13 years, is licensed in both Texas and Florida, and is a certified mediator. This podcast is for informational purposes only and all views are the opinion of the hosts. It's not designed to provide legal advice for your particular legal matter, and it should not replace the advice of competent counsel. Welcome. And we hope you enjoy the top Texas Lawyers podcast.
Good afternoon and welcome to the Top Texas Lawyers podcast. I am your host, Brian Abercrombie, and with me as always is my co-host, Samuel Sanchez. How are you doing? Hey, doing well, Brian. Doing well. Glad to be aboard. Well, good. Today we are going to change it up a little bit. We're going to talk a little bit about guns. Texas is a state where we have 1.2 million people that have concealed carry permits. And we also have obviously a large, large, larger, even larger number of that than that of gun owners. So we want to talk about different aspects of gun laws and then how they affect us. So, Sam, you want to fill us in a little more?
Sure. In the news corner, obviously, you know, you don't have to look very far at all to see that gun violence is kind of across the board. Different states, different environments to churches, to schools, to workplace, you know, encounters between individuals.
And so, you know, it's something that definitely kind of permeates our life in today's day. One of the things I wanted to kind of bring to light for us is to kind of talk about, as you know, obviously, Texas having, you know, a couple of pretty sad incidents.
The one we had some church violence not too far from the Metroplex area, Dallas Metroplex area, remote town churchgoers. Guy opens fire with fully automatic machine gun. There was a response by a neighbor, actually, to the church who came out, who was also armed and ensuing gun battle. They really they credit this neighbor, this kind of good Samaritan with who was also a licensed gun owner with saving a lot of people at that church. You don't even have to go that far. Let's just talk about politically, the 20 20 race.
It's huge. You know, obviously, both Democrats and the president have discussed gun control in the permeation of gun violence in the United States based on gun owners.
And so I thought it would be a good idea for us to kind of be able to talk a little bit about kind of how it falls in the different areas of laws that we deal with. Typically, I'd like to start with you talking to kind of family law issues.
You know, obviously, one of the things that is always in the AP news, you know, not just in celebrities but in everyday life, is is domestic violence, violence within the family. And you know how guns can play a part of that. Now, to your point, Brian, a lot of people in the state of Texas and Florida are licensed firearm holders and that Second Amendment guarantees its right to be able to be armed. So obviously, one.
And obviously, one of the most famous cases dealing with kind of a stand your ground situation happened in Florida. So obviously, that's a that's a huge deal that still permeates the news even today.
Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, and, you know, there's and we have you know, we have we don't really have a stand your ground law in Texas and Florida.
They do. It's more of a castle doctrine in Texas, but same same principle, which is basically no obligation to retreat. You have the ability to use a firearm to defend yourself and your property. And third persons, if you feel that their life is in danger, you know, in that obviously in the family law context, you know, getting away from kind of mass media or mass, you know, the mass and terroristic use of firearm weapons, most people really use firearms for self-defense or for hunting. And you're entitled to do so. You know, you can get a license to carry a concealed if you want to. And as in when you're dealing with family law issues, as you and I both know, when you get into a situation where all of the sudden parties are adverse to one another and emotions are running high. One of the things that always worries law enforcement officials and the courts attorneys is do you. Did you deal in firearms? And, you know, there was a lot of different ways to approach it. But I think we need to kind of.
Like our listeners write a little bit of value. What do you do? You're gun owner.
I'm a mental health issue from a mental health standpoint and from a family law standpoint. I mean, there the issue of guns comes up all the time, especially obviously, especially in Texas. There's a lot of us, a lot of us that go out and hunt and, you know. So what do you do in those types of situations? I mean, what? You know what? Our gun you know what our gun laws and how did they relate to you when you're going through a divorce or when you are going to depending on the situation? I mean, you can be severely restricted, you know, depending on what the what the situation is in order to be really careful.
Oh, absolutely. And not only that, Brian, but, you know, there's long reaching federal laws that have implications at the state level as well. You know, when Brady. The Brady law was passed in relation to gun restrictions and how, you know, implications associated with potential protective orders or restraints against possessing firearms, it was far reaching. And one of the things in Texas, specifically what a lot of people don't know is these temporary restraining orders. A lot of times, you know, depending on your jurisdiction, you may have what's called a standing order, which is that a court is going to have signed into effect for all the family law, courts or courts in general, an order that remains in place at the inception of filing a case. Those usually contain a litany of restrictions. Right. You know, don't destroy evidence. Don't you make huge withdrawals? Don't you have any kind of violent family violence during those encounters, post filing? But the always the other implication in relation to gun laws under Brady is possession of ammunition, even potentially sometimes possession of completely protected. And, you know, in a safe vault, in a way, firearms, it can be a violation of those orders. And so people need to be very careful and really pay attention to what's in those standing orders or in a temporary restraining order and its effect under Brady.
Yeah, that's true. I mean, especially if there has been an allegation of family violence or, you know, you're dealing with even an agreed protective order, you can run into hot water just from owning a gun or having a gun in your possession, even inside your home.
Absolutely true. And, you know, there's a lot of there's a lot of liability that's associated, unfortunately, with gun ownership that people don't even really understand. As an example, you know, let's just say you haven't even filed yet, but you're contemplating filing and you say, well, OK, maybe we're separated. All the firearms are with me. Canidate, a fact of potential custody situation later on in the future. Absolutely. Again, what are aspects of gun ownership that can potentially impact a family? Family law proceeding. Just owning one is an example. And failing to secure it means there's both civil and criminal liability for you not having it properly secured either in a gun safe or you know what gun locks. However, it is the mechanism you want to use to secure it. But you know, kids come over, their friends come over, somebody finds that weapon starts playing around, that somebody gets injured. Tremendous amount of liability associated with that. And I guarantee you, if if you're in the process or throws potentially in the throes of a divorce, it's going to kill you.
And let me just let me just preface this by saying, you know, neither Sam and I are are advocating against guns or anything like that. We were just trying to discuss the pitfalls that the Texas and the US constitution obviously both permit you the right to keep and bear arms should you so choose. And both of us are gun owners ourselves. So, you know, obviously, we we we're pro gun. But I think I think the whole purpose of this podcast is to give you information on gun laws and and where you might unknowingly run into some kind of some kind of liability or potential potential problem. And then you may not even realize it. So when you're dealing with a family law, cases in particular, you have to be very, very cognizant of these things because anything, anything can can affect that case.
Absolutely. And I you really to your point, you obviously we're firm believers in the Constitution. We would be lawyers if we weren't in the Second Amendment. This is an important facet of that. But we both know that, you know, a failure to prepare, a failure to understand the obstacles that are in front of you can a lot of times be the difference between winning the case and losing the case. And so people really need to kind of understand the restrictions that potentially come around and the implications of gun ownership so that they can properly prepare not only for themselves, but for their fact not to tell too many war stories.
But at a at a firm I used to work at, we had a case where there was a a mental. Basically, it was a divorce case where the wife was alleging some pretty serious. Mental health issues on who were representing the husband and the husband was an avid gun collector and he had he had hundreds of guns. And the judge ordered the lawyers in the case to take charge of the guns until the case was. So at my office, we had about 250 different types of rifles, shotguns, pistols. We had an entire gun collection that we had to allocate a closet, but we had to lock it up and secure it and we had to have sheriffs come help us move all the weapons into the office where the judge ordered us to secure those those weapons. So, you know, there are situations where judges, you know, they look at they look at when there's mental health issues being mental health allegations being made or, you know, obviously protective order of family violence type issues. You may have a situation where you have to you have to get rid of that handgun or you have to at least at least put it with somebody else or secure it somewhere safe where, you know, it can't be accessed for the remainder of the case.
Agreed. Agreed. And I think, you know, you're going to always see that courts a lot of times are going to air on the side of caution. If somebody raises that issue, a lot of times they're going to want to get ahead of it. So you don't want to have a game plan if you anticipate going through a divorce or, you know, having a custody proceeding to make sure that you if you are a gun owner and gun possessor, that you're going to make sure there's a security and a good plan for shouldn't something like that happen, what you're going to do.
The other thing is the value of these guns. I mean, there's a lot of guns that are very, very valuable and guns. I don't know if this is an indictment on our society or not, but guns tend to not go down in value.
They tend to go up. So unless a gun has just been completely, completely mis mishandled or completely left without any kind of care at all, most of those guns are going to go up in value.
And so there is a you know, there is a guide that will give you the valuation of guns. And, you know, that can be an item in a divorce case.
That's that's a I had a divorce case recently where we had to divide five very, very expensive Italian shotguns that was worth going to war. Thousands of dollars.
So, yes, absolutely. Brian? Absolutely. And that's a great point, because kind of transitioning from let's say we're not going to get in trouble for having them. To your point, they can be worth a lot of money and a lot of times people will overlook that. You know, if you're not the hunter in the family, you're not the person who's really interested in possessing or having firearms. And you just kind of look at and go, I don't really have any interest in that. Not really an understanding that there could be thousands upon thousands of dollars tied up from the community estate where potentially, you know, that could be separate property if they were inherited or gifts that can absolutely affect the division of the estate. And somebody may just want to say, well, you know what, they're probably worth the same amount as my shoes or my boots or whatever it is that they want to trade for and not really understand the value. So it's definitely something you want to know, kind of understand, categorize and keep, you know, keep in the conversation.
So let's back up and say, you know, let's start out with who who can own guns and what kind of guns can they own.
Sure. So obviously, in Texas, you know, anyone over the age of 18 can possess a firearm.
Children are also entitled to utilize firearms. They can even own them under the guise of property that are in control of their parents. So as long as their parents are in control, those they can absolutely own a firearm. For instance, as an example, a lot of children are raised in rural areas or hunters, hunters, families. They all have and possess firearms through their parents.
And there's a lot of high schools nowadays that are having a shooting teams where they have where they go out and they shoot, you know, they shoot in competitions. So there's obviously shotguns that are needed to be possessed by children in that situation. I guess children I'm using that term loosely. Obviously, it's kids under kids of 18. Sure.
Absolutely. You know, minors. And in that. Yeah, it's still an Olympic sport. You know, it's a highly competitive sport shooting both skeet, you know, marksmanship.
So definitely something that you can encounter all the way across the state of Texas and Florida.
Yeah. I was gonna go next that I mean, interrupt you about the next what kind of restrictions are there on people trying to own guns?
Sure. Obviously, you know, we're going to want to keep them out of the hands of of individuals that should possess them. So. Convicted felons cannot own or possess firearms.
You know, people now who are under the guise of a protective order, those kind of restrictions and some of those restraining orders that we discussed earlier are not able to possess or they can own firearms. They can't be in their possession.
It's a little bit about the protective order, because we talked a little bit about, you know, family violence being an issue. So if there is a protective order and a lot of these these protective orders hearings are not necessarily criminal in nature, they're kind of what I would consider. And you can correct me if I'm wrong. What I would consider a quasi criminal action where, you know, you are put under a civil restriction, but the civil restriction can also have a criminal component to it. So what you have to. Careful of as if a judge orders or is a protective order, you have to make sure you know what the restriction on that protective order is with respect to owning or possessing a firearm.
Absolutely, you absolutely do. You know, a big part of that.
God, yeah. Then, you know, if you own your own own or are in possession of firearms at that point in a protective order is issued, you have to do something about those guns. You know, at that point. But typically, that's something to discuss with your counsel. You know, at that time.
Absolutely. And something to clarify in Texas. So, you know, a lot of people think like, well, you know, can, you know, someone under the age of 18 possess a firearm? Anyone in Texas, Texas is considered a shall issue state. Right. So that basically means is that you can't they're laws regulating ownership of firearms.
Any person who's at least 18 years old, those gun laws, typically you're not going to regulate the possession, however, of firearms to any person, no matter what age. As long as they're not a felon, not to purchase a handgun, obviously, 21 years old if you're buying from a federally licensed dealer. But those are generally the kind of restrictions there is.
What's called we used to call them concealed handgun licenses, but now they're called license to carry on for residents and non-residents who have to take a training course to be able to do that. But those are the basic restrictions that exist in Texas in relation to possessing only firearms. And we're a big question for this comes up and why it's relevant in our conversation, Brian, is I give you an example.
So, Brian, I had a client who, you know, inherited a tremendous amount of weapons from his grandfather. He wasn't a hunter. He really didn't possess firearms at the time prior to this gift that he inherited from his grandfather. And it was a large sum. Whether it was a pretty big catch was over 30 rifles, 10 handguns, sort of shotgun, semiautomatics. And this individually, obviously, this crime, he had no idea know he had no idea what kind of weapons he was inheriting.
So this is a guy that you ask him if he owns a shotgun and what kind of track that is. And he says, oh, I don't know, a black one.
That's that's exactly who this guy was, Brian. You know, it's not know no disservice to him. He just never really while he been around him as a kids, he'd never owned them as an adult. He had no idea what to do. He had concerns about, you know, how do I secure them one? How do I value them, too? How do I know if they're legal? Three, you know? Is there any civil potential civil liability? He lived in an apartment. He's like so I really just had a lot of questions about. He had a lot of questions for me about what do I do next.
So that brings up a good point. I mean, let's say let's say you inherit a machine gun. I mean, we know, you know, obviously machine guns. You know, they were they were pretty. They weren't I don't know. I don't want to say outlaw. But there were they were heavily restricted. But at one point in time, they were not. So let's talk about let's say you inherit a machine gun.
Yeah. With the new federal restrictions, I'm going to encourage everybody to check with their jurisdiction. But I'm going to I'm going to tell you that for the most part, I own a fully automatic weapon, typically requires a a federal license. You know, those are heavy, heavily regulated, typically both in the state and federally. You don't want to ever be caught with a fully automatic weapon that's unregistered or unlicensed. Just opens you up to a potential bevy of civil penalties and potential criminal issues as well. So what would I suggest that this particular client do?
And please understand that you want to seek the advice of counsel before you take any action with something like this, whether it's inherited, whether it's gifted, whether you purchased it from a friend, because obviously you need to know if it's going to be automatic, semiautomatic, if it's fully functioning, if it's, you know, a safe weapon to use in the future. Guns miss a lot of time. Can I can tell you they're all over the states finding good reputable one. A lot of time going to the larger chains, a Cabela's or an academy or a large sporting or hunting facility that does retail can give you a good recommendation of a gunsmith to be able to evaluate weapons.
The other is, you know, you might run afoul of the law and not even know it. If you let's say you try to sell a machine gun that you inherited and you know, you're willing to is willing to pay some cash for it or whatever, you might run afoul of a fellow federal law and you don't even know it.
Absolutely, Brian. I mean, people can get in trouble for transporting those. So let's say you just decided that, hey, I inherited this from my grandfather. I'm going to go pick it up from the estate because you're selling the house and I'm going to transport it to my house and figure it out later. And on the way home, it's in the trunk. You get pulled over for a broken tail light or speeding or failing to yield. They say, hey, you know, pop your trunk. We want trunk. We want to look in there and they look and they say, hey, those those potentially are fully automatic. And now you're you're guilty of transporting Lethal Weapon because it's not registered you and you're not the registered owner yet.
I'm saying like it's crazy to say that kind of situation could exist, but it can. So you want to make sure that you're talking to an attorney if a situation presents itself like that so that, you know, the best course of action to do the other thing that you can do if you're like, hey, a gunsmith sounds kind of expensive. Not really, but there's gonna be costs associated with that. Is there any other way? Will most local law enforcement officers will evaluate a weapon for you? They all have internal gunsmith. Most of police departments who can identify semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons now understand this. There's some risk there. Right. You take it to the police. And let's say, like in this instance, one of. Weapons and obviously we're talking, you know, we're changing the facts to protect the innocent. But this particular this particular incident, this gift, one of the weapons was illegal. It had been used in wartime and another country brought back to the states. It had never been modified, but it was, you know, a fully functioning, fully automatic weapon from a foreign national government. Let's just put it that way. And so when it got evaluated, the police said, hey, you know what? There's no serial number there. You know, there's weapons that are made different than weapons that are sold and distributed in the United States, how they categorize them, whether or not they can be identified to an owner.
And if a country is and if a country is producing weapons for wartime, let's say it's a it's a country that's so say losing the war, they might just be cranking them off the assembly line with no serial numbers, no ownership, you know, no way to track it, whether it's been used, you know, purchased, transferred appropriately anyway.
So this this particular weapon, because they could not verify and it was in violation the way it was, you know, not modified, the way it was fully functioning. I was seized by the police and not return. And so in that situation, there's no compensation. You know, I'm saying it's like they're going to say, hey, we're hanging on your $2000 or $5000 weapon here, but don't worry, we're gonna cut you a check. No, that that particular item is lost.
So, again, you know, it's helpful to know kind of have a strategy and be able to evaluate these things and make a smart decision if you run across a situation.
Ok, let's talk about, you know, situations. I don't know, in a divorce, let's say you've got a collection of handguns, but there's been allegations of family violence, you know, being made. What do you do?
Well, if you're a gun owner, I'm going to tell you, you need to really secure those weapons and really out of your reach.
The last thing that you want to do is give anybody, you know, pardon the pun, but ammunition to use against you. You know, a good way to secure those their gun clubs across most metropolitan areas that afford you a locker you can rent a locker, you can secure those. You can place them in the possession of a kind and gentle lawyer, much like yourself, Brian, to secure those during dependency case. You can have them, you know, reside with a relative. Now, here's the thing. We talked about the value of these weapons. Right. The last thing that you want to do is say, hey, well, I'm selling on my weapons because I think I'm getting divorced. When I'm selling them to my buddy for a buck, I'll buy him back later. You don't get yourself in that kind of situation. You know, not only do you make yourself look shady, but, you know, a lot of times that that transaction is called into question and then you're really going to have problems.
Ok. What about in a case where there's a.. What about the cases where there's a mental health issues? Mental health, warrentless. They are a mental evaluation. Things like that.
They definitely want look at any point in time. A good gun owner is a safe gun.
Anybody who's been raised around weapons their entire lives, much like I have, knows that there's a certain protocol that you want to use to make sure that your family is always safe, that you're always safe. If you know that somebody is experiencing difficulties emotionally, psychologically, you know, whether it be for substance abuse or whatever it may be. You always want to make sure that the only time a weapon is going to be available is for the sporting experience that you plan to use it for.
With all the safeties in place to keep you and the people with you safe. And then if it's for home protection, that the only person who has excess access to that is the individual who's trained and knowledgeable about that particular weapon and solely for the purpose of defense of themselves, property or third person.
And I'm going to tell you, you're speaking from personal experience. We keep all of our guns, you know, locked away and I think, you know, in a in a safe and only one person has has access to get safe. And you're talking to him.
Yeah. And that's a good way to be debride. You know. But these are conversations that a lot of times, you know, as a family member, we don't have. And even if you do have them, you know, when you're married, that changes the context of that conversation can change the second that somebody is not in the house. Right. And so the other parent might have concerns because as an example, you know, heaven forbid I know that, you know, your lovely wife and she's fantastic. And that's a marriage forever. But let's say that something were to happen in that situation where you guys weren't going to meet again. She might have concerns about you having that firearm or vice versa that she decides, hey, for personal protection, even though I never shot, never was trained, don't really know how to use that firearm. I'm going to go purchase one. Well, obviously, in the state of Texas or Florida, she has the right to do that. And so in that situation, you might have some concerns. So these are conversations that are really important to have between individuals to keep everything above board and keep everyone feeling comfortable.
Let's talk about let's talk about situations where, you know, you have to use the gun for home protection. You know, we hear a lot about organizations that are there to reach out to legally that can help you with navigate those kind of tricky waters.
Absolutely. You know, I know that there's there's a couple, there's national organizations.
There's one specifically for the state of Texas that are basically kind of like insurance policies right there. If and when you ever had to use your weapon in defense of yourself, your property or a third person, they will come to your aid. They may have legal counsel that they can assign you. Most of those programs will afforded the opportunity to retain your own counsel. Whoever you see fit or you want to, you know, participate in that case. You know, it's always a good idea, something to look at. It's like a life insurance policy. You hope you never need it, but someday you might.
You know, I think I'm going to tell you that if you ever have to use that firearm in either defense of yourself or a family member here, I would I think the first call you probably need to make is to an attorney.
Oh, absolutely. Without question, Brian, because here's the deal. In today's age, you know, especially like like I said, you can look every other day there's gun violence. You know, some of them are obviously pretty atrocious. We have some, you know, very, you know, some atrocities that are committed, mass murders with firearms.
But I'm going to tell you that there are many times that gun violence never really kind of reaches the news media is not big enough. And those are those situations where somebody properly, you know, discharges a weapon and defensive themselves or their property or a third person. But in all of those situations, across the board, across the country, for the most part, all of those are investigated and all of them are going to a grand jury for the most part. And why I tell you that and why we're saying you need a lawyer and get some good advice is because if you if you know, for the purposes of an investigation, it's very difficult. A lot of times in that moment that he said she said that potentially, you know, for criminal implications, a grand jury gets to say, well, do I indict?
Do I know, Bill? Right. Do I get to say that? Yeah, we want you guys to go to trial and sit and sit in front of a jury of your peers to determine whether you did the right thing. Or do we think that.
No, you have the facts as they stand are sufficient for us to be able to say that you didn't commit a crime. But that's one facet of it, Brian. Right. So even if you get no guilt, which means, hey, you know what? We think you did everything right. Does that prohibit some civil civil liability or civil suits, wrongful death? Absolutely not.
And then you hear in the you hear in the media, these are just crazy stories of burglars breaking into a house, getting shot and then suing the homeowner. I mean, you hear crazy stories. But yeah, you're absolutely right. There is potentially a criminal component and a civil component that comes down with every every use or discharge of a firearm.
Absolutely. And in that situation, you know, no one better to advise you than a licensed attorney in your state, in your area who's had some experience dealing with that. But absolutely, that should be the first call, you know.
You know, advice to the client really would be, in my opinion, you know, you want to say the least amount of possible other than I want to speak to my lawyer first and have that conversation with counsel and then they'll let you know. We know. Let's now have a conversation after we've kind of review the facts, advise you on the law, and then we can make a determination about how best to proceed.
So let's talk a little bit about, you know, when we can carry our little we can carry our firearm. Let's say I've you know, I own a pickup and I got to drive, you know, through a really bad part of town or, you know, things like that. When can I wait? When is it safe for me to carry my fire? Let's say I don't have a concealed carry permit. I'm just a regular, regular Joe on the street. But I'd need I feel like I need a gun for protection. When is it OK for me to carry him from carry my gun?
Well, in the state of Texas, you are actually entitled to carry a firearm in your vehicle.
Well, OK. You know, the thing that you can't be is obviously in plain view. Right. So if you carry it for personal protection, you know, you're entitled to carry it in vehicle life. You're transporting it to hunt. You want like, hey, can I have it in my rifle case in the trunk? Am I going to get in trouble? Absolutely not. I have a pistol and I will carry it for personal security. It's done on my person, into my vehicle. Can I carry. Yes.
Yes. What about a gun rack?
Ok. I will tell you that you're entitled to have a gun rack. I tell people that those are typically going to be rural settings. You know, I'm sure a lot of times, you know, you're out, you're out in the country and you're like, hey, I need to be able to get this for the purposes of hog hunting or, you know, vermin or, you know, wild game animals, cougars, whatever.
May be the area that you're going to need to use that for a person, defense or defense of your property or livestock. OK. You know, really, gun racks in the back window of a truck have kind of fallen out of favor. One, because a lot of times you got to take the perspective. Law enforcement. Right. You know, a police officer, whether he's a sheriff's deputy, a local cop, you know, once he sees it, you're armed. It instantly puts him in a heightened state of awareness, obviously for good reason. You know, there are plenty of times that we see on the news that a law officer, you know, pulls somebody over and is involved in a shooting. He didn't know they were armory. And if he does, he sure as heck wants to make sure that those are secure and that he's gonna be safe. So the best, best way to transport those type of weapons is going to be, you know, in a secure environment, usually a case. But you can't really continue that for personal defense.
Let's go back to my guy driving through the bad part of Houston with a gun in his car.
So, you know, obviously, one of the things that you can't do is brandish a weapon. And unless you know, for any reason, really. But let's say that you're going to do it in a threatening way. Well, obviously, you're going to have problems. So if he's driving through, he feels like, hey, you know what, my personal safety, I think is at risk in this trip. I want to go to a couple of different places. Can I carry my firearm in my vehicle? Yes.
We've talked a little bit about transporting a firearm. Let's talk a little bit about other kind of conditions that come up and say you're a foster parent or you're looking to adopt a child or what? What are the situations there?
I mean, that's something that's a great point, Ryan, because in 2011, Texas passed a law prohibiting the Department of Family and Child Services from restricting the foster parents ability to carry a handgun in a vehicle while treads transporting a foster child. So, you know, that was kind of one of the things that you mentioned. So are there restrictions? There's there's going to be the law and there's going to be, you know, like smart decisions. Right. Common sense. And I would tell you that you need to be very cognizant of as you're going through either the adoption process or you're contemplating fostering or you're already in the process of fostering or adopting gun ownership, because a lot of times it can have implications associated with that process unknowingly. So you just definitely want to make sure that you're advising your counsel, your attorney, keeping the social workers, you know, appraised of what your intentions are, your ownership, you know, where those are, how you're keeping them locked and safe away from children so that it doesn't potentially negative negatively affect that.
And along those lines, Brian, just quickly, so that kind of a clarification point on when you can transfer, how you can transfer weapons, carry them in your car. Right now, Texas doesn't require a person to have a valid handgun license in order to carry a loaded handgun into a motor vehicle in your boat if it's, you know, if it's owned by you or it's under your control. However, I want. I want everybody know Texas generally prohibits intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carrying a handgun in plain view in a motor vehicle or watercraft, except by a licensed, you know, a license to carry an individual.
So I don't want it. Don't do it. Don't don't put it on the dashboard. You know, I can't drive down the street with a waving it out the window.
No. Now, you know, where a lot of people get concerned is they're like, hey, well, you know, it's under my seat. Am I going to get in trouble? No. You can have it underneath your seat.
What you can't have it is in the seat next to you, fully exposed. You're going to get it.
And it's definitely not a good idea to hold it up whenever somebody cuts you off in a you know, on a on 6, 10 when you're trying to get home after a day. Definitely not a good way to go to jail. Good way to go to.
One other thing on that line, Brian. Just so that, you know, is if you're a teacher. Right. So one of the things that Texas law also prohibits is intentionally, knowingly or recklessly possessing or going with a firearm on pants, passenger transportation of a school. Right. So you can't have guns in schools, although there are some exceptions for teachers now whether or not they can keep keep firearms in their vehicles. Can't have it in the school. So whether you have an LTC that license to carry and you think, oh, I'm going to go to my kids picnic. Don't do it. Don't do it. Can't get on the bus. You can't do it. There's laws that came out in, like I said, 2015 and 2016 that prohibit districts from preventing concealed carry, hold, carry for 2015 and 2016. Texas law that generally prohibits K-12 school districts from preventing concealed carry licence holders from keeping firearms or ammunitions locked privately in their vehicle. OK. But they can absolutely keep you from carrying on on the premises or in a bus. So be very careful about doing that.
What about excessive drive to a school zone or go to a bank or. Yeah. You know, things like that.
All right. So let's talk about open carry. Because in Texas, there is an open carry law.
Open carry basically means that you're entitled to carry a weapon much like in the wild last so long as everybody can see it and you're not attempting to conceal it. OK.
What I would encourage people to understand and what I usually tell people who are gun owners is if I was gonna be in a situation and there's nothing to say that I would discourage people from utilizing there, they're there. Texas constitutional right to open carry if they want to. It puts people in a very awkward position who don't open carry. And additionally, if there was that type of situation and try to tell people what you're probably the first person who's going to get targeted in that situation. Now, that's a personal choice. But you do have that right now. The license to carry is licensed to carry concealed. That requires you going through a training course, getting vetted by the state and then getting basically a license to carry those. You know, you still have to be careful in both situations because most businesses are a lot of businesses across state of Texas. To be able to exclude you for the purposes of possessing a firearm and entering their establishment only has to post the required signature. Now, those are governed by legislation that was passed. They're very large. They usually have to be at eye level. So you're going to know if you're a gun owner and you're trying to walk in one establishment, can I take it in or can I not?
A big sign on the front door that says, you know, it gives the posting.
Absolutely gives the posting.
And I would adhere to it, because you got to understand, you know, trespassing at that point with the firearm is going to be a crime because you've you've received notice.
Now you have property tax crimes. Exactly. And so you have to receive actual notice, meaning that they can't vary the posting, you know, under the back closet.
They will have it. They haven't put the sign up. But you know, you can't have it here. No, that's not true. You have to be given no actual notice of their desire to not allow people to enter their establishments with weapons. And that includes license to carry a gun holders. So if you think, well, hey, but I have this license, can I still go in? No. If that's posted, whether you're a concealed carry, open carry, you can't take it in. So be very careful about that and get yourself in trouble.
So let's talk a little bit about let's say I have a gun and let's say somebody breaks into my car or whatever and they steal my gun. What about what do I do? I mean, the guns registered to me, you know, do I just say, oh, well, I lost it. It's gone bad.
What do I do? No, absolutely not. You know, you absolutely have to notify law enforcement as quickly as you identify that it's been taken or it's missing.
The reason being is, you know, obviously a lot of times crimes perpetrated, you know, are using stolen weapons. And the last thing that you want is to open yourself up to a criminal investigation because you didn't report it. Failure to report a firearm is stolen is also typically I think it's a class B misdemeanor.
But I would tell you, it's a it's a crime in most jurisdictions to not report when when a firearm is stolen. So you definitely want to get as soon as you find out, let local law enforcement know, try it. You know, always keep track of your serial numbers on firearms. There, you know, if they're a registered firearm, obviously, the place that you purchased is going to keep track of that as well, should you ever lose that information. But this is good handy information for not only you, but for your insurance company, because you're probably going to want to file a claim, claims that you can recover the costs associated with being able to repurchase another fire.
Let's talk a little bit about if I want to sell my firearm, let's say I get them all valued and they're worth a lot of money. Let's go back to the guy that inherited a bunch of weapons, let's say at the outset, a normal, normal guns. But I don't have a use for two hundred guns. I'm going to sell some of them. You know what? What do I have to do in that situation?
Well, the one restriction, I would tell you is always make sure that you know who you're doing that transaction with. OK.
You know, there are weapons that are going to be sold. You can sell them, obviously, to a licensed firearm dealer, which is probably the safest bet you can sell on other individuals. But you got to know that, you know, you cannot, you know, transfer ownership of a fire of a handgun to anyone under age 21.
So that's the restrictions that in Texas you want to make sure that you're aware of. But not only that, you want to make sure that, one, if you do decide to sell, that those serial numbers are removed from your ownership. Right.
And so there's a process that you definitely want to go through in relation to making sure that wherever your jurisdiction is, you ensure that that serial number is transferred from your ownership to the new gun owners name.
All right. Well, do you have anything else? Because obviously we could go on for, you know, for hours and days on this topic, because there's obviously a lot of it touches a lot of buttons in it. And there's obviously a lot a lot of nuances and a lot of every gun gun cases are typically very, very fact specific.
And then, yeah, I would absolutely agree. I mean, there's some you know, there's some laws that have changed recently, September 1st, as a matter of fact, in relation to gun laws. So make sure that you reach out to council if you have questions so that you can understand, hey, you know what?
What is change? What do I need to know? Is there anything specifically that that I need to be made aware of? You know, I would tell you, just as a general overview, obviously.
Who where guns can be carried is still a big topic of conversation. The open carry legislation from 2015. Make sure that you're aware of it. It's so far being upheld, but you definitely want to know that as of September 1st, any handgun owner without a license can carry a gun openly or concealed for a full week after a state or federal disaster zone is declared.
Obviously, that came from Hurricane Harvey. Your you live through that one, Bryan. You know how things can go crazy, right? Sure.
And so in that situation, that's a really important change in the law that I think people need to be made aware of. You know, anytime there's tornadoes, anytime there's hurricanes, anytime there's something that Texans may need to be able to arm themselves to protect their property individually or third person, they can't do that.
The other thing that came up that I would just let people know, because sometimes people get freaked out, they go to houses of worship and they're like, hey, you know what?
A lot of churches, obviously, because they've been victims of gun violence, have hired personal security forces to kind of run security at their locations.
One of the changes was that now those can be done in-house. So that was based on that twenty seventeen Sutherland Springs shooting the church that I'm talking about, the year of the Metroplex.
But so that's something that they give proper notice. Obviously you have to be notified there.
There definitely something that they're available to to two churches as well as houses of worship.
I mean that's a you know, it's a we touched on a lot of different things. I would tell you that, you know, one of the things in parting I would encourage people to do is, you know, incorporate these types of weapons in your state plan, OK, incorporate them into your will. Think about who you're going to give them to. I always think back to that client that inherited all those guns. His grandfather maybe wanted him to be a gun, you know, a Glock gun owner. But it really wasn't.
It wasn't in his in his vocabulary. And so it really made for awkward situations. So really contemplate not only the situation that you're in, the situation potentially you could be in, but the future of where you want those to go. If you have you know, even if it's one or a thousand weapons, you know, really kind of contemplate all the effects it can have in your life and across the world.
And you want to always be you know, you always want to take the time to be a responsible gun owner.
If that means reaching out to an attorney to get some advice. I would I would it's probably a well worth a small consultation fee to find out, you know, what you have to be worried about or what you need to be concerned about. That's part of being a responsible gun owner. Gun owner. You pay a lot of money for these weapons. And, you know, you want to be you want to keep them in a safe in a safe way.
Well, I say factsand, as always, Brian, it's a pleasure.
And we thank you guys for joining us on the podcast. That one thing we ask you to do is if you like this podcast, you like the content that you heard, just reach out on your platform, whether that's i-Tunes or or Spotify or whatever, whatever platform you're listening to this podcast on and give us a review because we would really appreciate it. So reach out and give us a review and let us know what you think. And with that, we will wrap it up. Have a great one, Sam. And we will talk to you next week. Sounds good. Take care.
Thank you for listening, and we hope you enjoyed the Top Texas Lawyers Podcast. If you'd like to schedule a consultation with either Bryan or Sam, please call 1-888-981-7509. Or visit us on the web at astxlegal.com. Once again, that's astxlegal.com. Thank you very much.