The following is a video transcript.
There are a lot of legal misconceptions out there about what you can and can’t do when it comes to guns in Texas. Before you jump the gun, let’s discuss three common myths and set the record straight.
Myth Number One: If I shoot someone on my porch, I should drag that body inside my house.
That is a myth. Despite what you may have seen on TV or in the movies, you should never, ever move physical evidence from a suspected crime scene, especially if it is a corpse. If you do, you could be held criminally liable for abuse of a corpse or for tampering with physical evidence under Texas law.
The forensic evidence will likely be completely inconsistent with the shooting in your house, meaning the police will assume you are lying about your version of events. Don’t be caught dead moving a body.
Myth Number Two: It is against the law to shoot a buffalo from the second floor of a hotel in Texas.
That’s a myth, somewhat. This is an incredibly common myth, and due to its popularity on several websites, many people believe it is a real Texas law. But you know better than to believe everything you read on the internet.
Recently, the Texas Legislative Reference Library conducted a thorough search on the history of Texas legislation and were unable to locate any record of this law. That being said, do not shoot a buffalo from a hotel room regardless of whether or not you are on the second floor.
Remember: Texas hotels may exclude firearms from their premises by providing you verbal or written notice, which is typically accomplished by the posting of a Section 30.06 sign, prohibiting concealed carry, and/or a Section 30.07 sign, prohibiting open carry.
Failure to comply with the hotel’s firearm policy may subject you to criminal liability for trespass. On top of that, there are a wide number of crimes you could be committing in addition to trespassing, including animal cruelty, disorderly conduct, discharging a firearm within city limits, and deadly conduct, just to name a few.
Myth Number Three: I can scare off a trespasser using a warning shot.
This is also a myth. While warning shots may seem like a good idea in the movies, they are very rarely a good idea in the real world.
Although the term “warning shot” does not appear in the Texas Penal Code, it is extremely likely that the legal system will judge your conduct as deadly force under the argument that the simplest discharge of your gun is an action capable of causing death or serious bodily injury, regardless of whether or not that was your intent when you fired the warning shot.
Because you can never use deadly force against a mere trespasser, you cannot use a warning shot. Firing a warning shot to scare off a trespasser will land you in serious hot water. So don’t jump the gun and only pull the trigger if you are prepared to deal with the consequences.
If you have any questions about any of the topics we have discussed or need us to settle a bet, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.