Under Texas law, it is a criminal offense for a person to engage in certain types of weapons transfers. An offense could range from selling a handgun to someone with unlawful intentions to selling, renting, or even giving a firearm to a minor under 18 years of age. Below, Price & Twine explains the law in more detail and why to involve a criminal defense attorney if criminally charged.

Attorney for Unlawful Transfer or Firearm Smuggling in Wilco

Being charged with a weapons offense can be stressful and potentially life-altering ordeal. The sooner a person secures legal representation from an experienced weapon crimes attorney, the better their chances of a favorable outcome. The criminal defense attorneys at Price & Twine, PLLC are experienced in defending clients charged with unlawful transfers or smuggling of firearms. Our firm provides representation for those charged in Williamson or Bell Counties, including the communities of Georgetown, Leander, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Killeen, Temple, and surrounding areas of the Texas Hill Country. If you or a loved one is facing a criminal accusation, give us a call immediately at (512) 354-1880 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.

Information Center: Unlawful Transfer Of Certain Weapons

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Penalties And Exceptions

According to Texas Penal Code Section 46.06, a person commits an illegal act if they give or sell a handgun to someone who intends to use it unlawfully. It is also illegal to sell or give any firearm, club, or certain types of knives to anyone under 18. Selling firearms or ammunition to someone who is intoxicated is prohibited. If someone has been convicted of a felony, it is illegal to sell them firearms or ammunition until five years have passed since their release from prison or supervision. Additionally, selling or giving a handgun to someone who is under a restraining order is against the law. It is also illegal for a person to buy, rent, or receive a handgun as a gift or loan if they are under a restraining order.

This offense is typically classified as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine, but it can escalate to a state jail felony in certain situations. For instance, transferring a handgun to a minor under 18 is considered a state jail felony punishable by 180 days to 2 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.

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Firearm Smuggling

According to Texas Penal Code Section 46.14, anyone who knowingly engages in the business of transporting or transferring firearms that were acquired illegally is committing a crime.

This offense is normally considered a felony of the third degree punishable by 2-10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. However, if the crime involves three or more firearms in a single criminal episode, it becomes a felony of the second degree. Additionally, if the conduct qualifies as an offense under another law, such as Unlawfully Possessing a Weapon, the individual could be prosecuted under both laws.

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Specific Defenses

Affirmative Defense For Transfers To Minors

One of the key defenses under Section 46.06 is the affirmative defense relating to transfers to minors under 18 years of age. According to Texas law, it is an affirmative defense if the minor’s parent or the person having legal custody provided written permission for the sale or effective consent if the transfer was other than a sale. This means that even if an individual did transfer a weapon to a minor, they could avoid criminal liability if they had written permission or effective consent from the minor’s parent or guardian.

Lack Of Knowledge

Another possible defense would be proving a lack of knowledge about the recipient’s intent to use the weapon unlawfully. For instance, a person commits an offense if they transfer a handgun to another person “knowing” that the recipient intends to use it unlawfully. This implies that proving a lack of such knowledge could serve as a defense.

Section 46.14 does emphasize the element of “knowingly” engaging in the business of transporting or transferring illegal firearms. Therefore, a possible defense could involve challenging the element of knowledge—arguing, for example, that the accused was unaware that they were transporting firearms acquired in violation of any laws.

Exceptions For Officers

It’s important to note that under Section 46.14, police officers who are engaged in the actual discharge of an official duty are exempt from being prosecuted under this law. This is a specific carve-out that can act as a defense for law enforcement officers in the line of duty.

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Additional Resources

Identifying Prohibited Persons – Visit the ATF website to learn about federal law involving certain categories of persons prohibited from transferring or receiving firearms. The Federal Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives outlines guidelines under federal law involving firearm smuggling laws and penalties.

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Finding an Experienced Gun Charge Defense Attorney in Wilco | Price & Twine, PLLC

Texas takes weapon offenses seriously, and violating these laws can lead to severe consequences. Price & Twine, PLLC’s criminal defense lawyers are experienced at fighting for our clients’ rights. We understand the legal issues involved and can help clients through each phase of the process. Our firm serves the communities of Georgetown, Round Rock, Killeen, and surrounding areas of Williamson and Bell Counties. If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or is under investigation for a crime, call us at (512) 354-1880 to set up a consultation to discuss your case.

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