Implications of Open Carry on Weapons Possession Charges
As of January 1, 2016, Texas residents became able to openly carry firearms in public places. This controversial new legislation has begun to erode away at what many uninformed individuals understand as a weapon possession charge. Open Carry allows for a gun owner who has acquired a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to be able to openly carry their modern handgun without facing weapon possession charges. There are many limitations in place on open carry, but just having the weapon exposed can no longer be considered in a weapons possession charge.
Limitations and Penalties for Open Carry
Obtaining a CHL is meant to be indicative of proper gun training and safety knowledge. It requires classroom lecture on gun safety followed by a firearm operation qualification testing. In total, the curriculum and testing only take about four to six hours and can be completed in a single day. Along with obtaining the license, a person exercising their open carry rights must abide by the numerous gun-free zones that are established. These gun-free zones include schools, airports, sporting events, and courtrooms. Businesses are allowed to decide for themselves whether they allow weapons on premise. Penalties for violating gun-free zones are often severe and can include:
- Misdemeanor: Fines up to $2500, up to 1 year in jail
- Felony: Fines up to $10000, 2-10 years in jail
Open carry firearms are meant to be used for self-defense only and any use or threat of use of a firearm for a CHL holder can result in weapon possession charges. While open carry laws remain threatening to many, in reality, their implications on weapon possession charges are relatively little.
Contact a Weapons Possession Charges Attorneys
If you or someone you know has been charged with unlawful weapon possession, know that there are many legal options to combat this charge. At Alexander & Associates, our attorneys believe that everyone has the second amendment right to own weapons. Our extensive experience has helped defend clients from various criminal charges including weapon possession charges. Contact our office at (972) 420-6560 to learn more about how we may assist you in your legal case.