As of August 2021, Texas no longer requires a license, permit, or training to carry handguns (in holsters) because of bill HB 1927. This change in the law has stirred up fear and created a lot of questions among citizens and law enforcement in the state. Many people are concerned that the lack of training or accountability will lead to an increase in assault and gun-related crimes.
It is worth noting, however, that this law does not change the eligibility requirements to own and carry a gun in Texas. You still cannot purchase a handgun in the state if you have been convicted of a felony or familial violence. If you are involved in an assault while carrying a handgun, there can be consequences, but the outcomes differ depending on the circumstances of the assault.
Is There Anywhere in Texas Where I Can’t Carry a Gun?
Despite the change in the law regarding carrying a handgun in Texas, there are some places in the state where it is still prohibited to carry whatsoever. Some of these places are:
- Correctional facilities of any sort (prisons, jails)
- Schools (both grade schools and colleges)
- Bars, clubs, or any place that makes over 51% of their income from selling alcoholic drinks
- Hospitals, mental hospitals, and nursing homes
The law also increases the penalties for possessing a firearm illegally for certain people. If you have been previously convicted of a Class A misdemeanor due to familial violence and are caught possessing a firearm, you will now be charged with a 3rd-degree felony instead of another Class A misdemeanor. The same goes for anyone subject to familial violence protective orders from the state of Texas or any other state.
How is Assault While Carrying Different from Regular Assault?
The state of Texas classifies assault as intentionally or recklessly causing physical harm, intentionally threatening someone with physical harm, or making physical contact with someone that is knowingly offensive. Assault charges are generally broken down into four different categories. Those categories are verbal, simple, aggravated, and sexual assault.
If you are the aggressor in an assault and you are carrying a weapon, that will be classified as aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is the same as simple assault, except it involves the use or display of a deadly weapon or causes “serious” bodily injury. A deadly weapon is any weapon that can cause serious physical harm to another person, such as guns, knives, and even blunt objects depending on the context of their use during the incident. In terms of the law, serious bodily injury is considered as the following:
- The person dies
- You put the person at high risk of death
- You cause them serious permanent disfigurement
- You cause them impaired function or loss of an organ or limb
If you threaten someone while carrying a gun, you will be charged with an aggravated assault and automatically receive a 2nd-degree felony. People who are sentenced with a 2nd-degree felony can receive anywhere from 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
How Likely is Gun Violence in Texas?
While many people carrying handguns for personal safety and self-defense do not need to use them, gun violence still occurs in the state, with increasing frequency. The state at large is quite divided regarding the issue of gun violence with 51% stating that they would like to see more strict gun laws in a recent poll taken by the University of Texas.
On average, about 3,288 people die annually in Texas because of gun violence. About 36% of these deaths are considered a homicide. There were 34 mass shootings in the state of Texas in 2020, an increase of 4 over the previous year. The rate of gun-related incidents seems to be trending upwards in the state, so it is best to stay aware of the laws as someone who carries a firearm and to remain level-headed should you become involved in any sort of altercation.
What Defenses Can I Use if Accused of an Aggravated Assault?
If you have an aggravated assault accusation against you, you may be wondering where to turn in terms of a good defense for your potential case. The following are two of the more common defenses used in cases of this nature:
- Self-defense: to successfully defend your actions as self-defense, it must be proven that they were justified in defense against someone who was making threats of violence against you or who committed a violent act against you at the time your assault against them took place.
- Defense of property: in Texas, it is legal to use force to defend your property against trespassers or people attempting to break into or burglarize your home
Hire a Quality Attorney Today
An experienced and talented attorney is the easiest and most reliable way to obtain a good defense. Attorney Peter Barrett has over 25 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer and would love to hear your case. His level of expertise and compassionate nature combined make him one of the best in the business. Contact him today at (214) 307-8667 or via this link.