It’s Illegal to Sell Guns to Drunks

Did you know that in Texas, a person may not sell a firearm or ammunition to an “intoxicated person?” It’s true, as this excerpt from Chapter Six of Texas Gun Law, Armed And Educated explains:

A person may not intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly sell a firearm to an intoxicated person.

What is “intoxicated?”

Texas Penal Code § 46.06(b)(1) provides the most relevant definition for “intoxicated” with respect to the purchase of a firearm. Under that section of the Penal Code, intoxicated means “substantial impairment of mental or physical capacity resulting from introduction of any substance into the body.” Note that under this definition, intoxication is not limited to alcohol, nor is a specific legal limit on the amount of whatever impairing-substance is found in the body. Under Texas law, no person who is intoxicated can be sold a firearm, and holders of a license to carry are also prohibited from carrying a handgun under the authority of their license while intoxicated. Tex. Penal Code §§ 46.06(a)(3), 46.035(d). Again, when a person knew another may be intoxicated or knew whether a person was actually intoxicated may ultimately be decided by a jury.

Mental state

The law has three different “mental states” under which a person may be guilty of a crime for selling a firearm to an intoxicated person: intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. Intentionally and knowingly are the higher standards and reckless the lesser.

When does a person recklessly sell a firearm to an intoxicated person? Texas Penal Code § 6.03(c) states that “a person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.” Likewise, if a person’s mental state that they are selling a firearm or ammunition to an intoxicated person rises above reckless to knowingly or intentionally, that is also illegal.


Being intoxicated is just one disqualification for possessing a firearm or ammunition in the Lone Star State. To learn more Texas gun law, get the authoritative resource: Texas Gun Law, Armed And Educated. Click here to order.


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