Understanding firearm crimes in Texas is important, especially when it comes to the unlawful discharge of a firearm. In the state of Texas, discharging a firearm in certain municipalities is illegal and can result in severe consequences. These could range from hefty fines to imprisonment. Below, Price & Twine, PLLC explains more on the offense, including what the state considers illegal, potential defenses to a criminal charge, and how a criminal defense attorney can help those who are accused of violating the law.

Discharging a Firearm in a Municipality Defense Attorney in Georgetown, TX

If an individual has been charged with unlawfully discharging a firearm in municipalities in Wilco Texas, they should speak with a lawyer right away. Price & Twine, PLLC represents individuals facing these charges. The firm’s team of experienced lawyers can provide you with the legal guidance you need. To discuss your case and explore your legal options, reach out to Price & Twine, PLLC at (512) 354-1880 or get in touch online.

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Scope of The Statute: Who Is Affected?

According to Texas Penal Code § 42.12, an offense is committed when a person discharges a firearm recklessly inside of the boundaries of a municipality. This law only applies to municipalities that have a population of 100,000 people or more.

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Legal Classification: What Kind of Offense Is It?

In Texas, recklessly discharging a firearm within the a municipality is considered a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties associated with Class A misdemeanors in Texas can include up to a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

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Local Government Autonomy: Can Municipalities Have Their Own Laws?

Another important part of this law is that it does not override the authority of individual municipalities to make and enforce their own laws concerning the discharge of firearms. This allows for local governments to have more strict laws if they see fit.

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Local Laws in Georgetown Regarding Unlawful Discharge

In Georgetown, Texas, Ord. No. 2009-07, § 2 prohibits the firing or discharge of any weapons, including air-powered weapons, firearms, archery devices, and other weapons within the city, whether it be for hunting, sports, or any other reason. However, there are certain exceptions under Ord. No. 2009-07, § 2:

  • If state or federal laws allow for it.
  • In certain areas outside the main city or areas annexed by the city:
  • Shotguns, air guns, BB guns, or bows and arrows can be discharged on land that’s 10 acres or more, as long as they’re fired over 150 feet away from buildings on neighboring properties and not in a way that the projectile is likely to leave the property.
  • Center or rim fire rifles or pistols can be discharged on properties of 50 acres or more, but they need to be fired more than 300 feet away from neighboring buildings and shouldn’t have projectiles crossing property lines.
  • Inside shooting galleries or gunsmith establishments.
  • If someone has a special permit issued by the city.

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Challenging The Element Of “Recklessness”

One of the key elements that the prosecution must prove for a conviction under § 42.12 is that the defendant acted “recklessly.” In the legal context, recklessness usually means that the person was aware of but disregarded a substantial risk. If it can be demonstrated that the discharge of the firearm was not reckless but instead accidental or due to some other factor, this could be a defense.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm in Texas Under Penal Code § 42.12

What Does “Recklessly” Mean In This Statute?

The term “recklessly” means a serious disregard for the outcome of one’s actions. In the context of § 42.12, recklessly discharging a firearm means that the person was aware that firing the weapon could result in substantial risk to others but chose to do it anyway. It is an essential element that the prosecution must prove for a conviction under this statute.

Does This Law Apply to All Municipalities in Texas?

No, this law specifically applies to municipalities with a population of 100,000 or more. If the alleged incident occurred in a smaller municipality, then this particular law would not apply, although other laws might.

What Is The Penalty for Violating § 42.12?

Violating this statute is classified as a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. A Class A misdemeanor can result in up to a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Can I Be Charged Under Another Law for the Same Act?

Yes, the law states that if your conduct also falls under another law in Texas Penal Code, you could be charged under either or both.

Can Local Municipalities Enact Stricter Laws?

Yes, the law allows municipalities the freedom to enact their own ordinances regarding the discharge of firearms. These can be more strict than state law.

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Areas We Service

We service cities in Williamson County such as:

We also service cities in Bell County such as:

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Discharging a Firearm in a Municipality Resources

View the Texas Penal Code on discharging a firearm in a municipality. The law provides a description of the offense as well as applicable penalties.


Need Legal Help? Reach Out to Price & Twine, PLLC Immediately

If you have been charged with the unlawful discharge of a firearm in Georgetown, Texas,  consult with a gun crime lawyer. Price & Twine, PLLC gun crime lawyers in Williamson County defends and protect its clients’ rights. For a consultation regarding your case, contact us at (512) 354-1880 or reach out to us online.