There have been a series of violent home invasions in your sister’s neighborhood and your brother-in-law is going out of town. Can you lend her your handgun to defend herself?
In this scenario, yes, but there are a few things to watch out for under Texas law.
Texas Penal Code § 46.06 makes certain firearm transfers a crime. For example, it is a crime to loan or give a firearm to a person, knowing such person intends to use it unlawfully or in the commission of a crime.
Texas Penal Code § 46.06 also makes it a crime to loan a firearm to a minor (person under 18 years of age) without the effective consent of the minor’s parent or person who has legal custody of the minor.
Texas Penal Code § 46.13 criminalizes making a readily dischargeable firearm accessible to a child (a person under 17 years of age). There are exceptions to this law for things, such as hunting or sporting purposes with the supervision of someone older than 18; and access predicated on an act of lawful self-defense. But in our original example, simply lending a child a loaded firearm would be prohibited.
CONVICTED FELONS AND PERSONS CONVICTED OF MISDEMEANOR CRIMES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Federal law criminalizes the transfer of a firearm to a prohibited person, and the possession of firearms and ammunition by prohibited people. Prohibited people include those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence and convicted felons.
The prohibition under Texas law is a little different, after enough time has passed. Under Texas Penal Code § 46.04, it is a crime for convicted felons to possess firearms. However, after the fifth anniversary of the felon’s release from confinement, supervision, or parole—whichever is later—a felon may possess a firearm in the place where they live.
Section 46.04 also prohibits a person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor crime of domestic or family violence from possessing a firearm before the fifth anniversary of conviction or release from supervision—whichever is the later.
However, in those cases where it was not a crime under state law but a crime under federal law, we frequently see local police refer those cases to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for possible federal charges.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
If a third party does not fall into one of these restricted or prohibited categories, you should not be liable if he or she is forced to use your gun in self-defense.
If you have any questions about lending your handgun, rifle, or shotgun to a third party, contact Texas LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
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