Texas Defense Attorneys for Transfer of a Firearm or Ammunition to a Juvenile
The Second Amendment gives Americans the right to carry and own firearms. Nonetheless, because this right involves a deadly weapon, any law defining these rights must balance an underlying policy that protects public welfare and safety.
Under federal law, it is illegal for a juvenile to possess a handgun or ammunition on purpose. Under Texas law, transferring handguns to juveniles is considered a more severe crime than transferring other firearms. Texas law makes it unlawful to transfer any firearm to a juvenile. However, federal law does indicate a minimum age at which a person can possess or receive rifles or shotguns.
If you face charges of transferring a firearm or ammunition to a juvenile, contact the experienced Collin County federal firearms violation attorneys at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian. One of our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys will provide a detailed review and analysis of your case at no risk or obligation. Call us today at (972) 369-0577 or online to schedule a consultation to learn about your legal options. Let us help protect your valuable rights.
Texas Law and Federal Law on Transfers of Firearms to Juveniles
Gun laws restrict the types of guns people may legally carry, own, and use to achieve this delicate balance between freedom and public safety. Federal law makes using, carrying, manufacturing, or selling fully automatic weapons unlawful. These include machine guns or semi-automatic assault weapons made after October 1, 1993. Under federal law, it is also generally illegal to possess short-barreled shotguns, rifles, machine guns, silencers, and destructive devices.
Some individuals aren’t allowed to possess firearms
Laws also limit the types of individuals who may assert Second Amendment rights. The law prevents persons judged or perceived as threats to public safety from carrying a gun. Federal and state laws also limit the gun rights of juveniles under 18. The law perceives them as not yet sufficiently responsible to possess and use firearms.
Federal law only restricts juveniles from carrying, owning, and using handguns. Under federal law, a “handgun” is a firearm with a short stock designed for a person to fire with one hand. Any combination of parts from which a person could assemble a similar firearm also meets the definition.
A juvenile is any person less than 18 years of age. It is illegal under federal law for any person to sell, deliver, or give a handgun or handgun ammunition to a juvenile.
Texas law defines a firearm as a device made or altered with the intent that a projectile should be propelled through a barrel by means of energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or a device that can be converted to be used in that way.
It is a criminal offense under Texas law if a person intentionally or knowingly sells, leases, rents, or gives any firearm to any person under 18 years of age. It is also a criminal offense if a person offers to sell, lease, rent, or give a firearm to any person under 18 years of age.
Under federal law, the penalty for selling, delivering, or transferring a firearm to a juvenile is up to 1-year imprisonment. This is true unless the individual transferring the weapon had reason to believe the young person would commit a violent crime with the gun or ammunition. In this case, the penalty is up to ten years in prison.
Texas law classifies transferring a firearm to a juvenile as a state jail felony if the underlying weapon of the offense is a handgun. Defendants serve convictions for state jail felonies in a Texas state jail. The applicable range of punishment is 180 days to 2 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Texas law classifies the offense as a Class A misdemeanor if the weapon involved in committing the offense is a firearm other than a handgun. This misdemeanor category carries a jail sentence of up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Courts must consider applying sentencing enhancements to a defendant’s case if the defendant is a habitual or repeat offender. A prosecutor can charge a person with a higher-level offense based on their criminal history. This elevation of charges will typically result in a harsher punishment for the current criminal offense.
If the arrested person believed that the juvenile to whom they gave the weapon or ammunition could legally have, use, or carry a firearm under Texas law, their belief might serve as a viable and valid defense to the criminal charge.
Defenses are available in federal cases involving the transfer of firearms, specifically handguns, to juveniles. These defenses are available provided the juvenile has followed all state and federal laws while possessing the firearm that was the subject of the alleged illegal transfer. These defenses include:
- The juvenile used the handgun for employment, farming, ranching, hunting, target practice, or a firearm education course.
- A parent or legal guardian not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm gave the juvenile written permission.
- The juvenile possessed a parent or legal guardian’s written permission at the time the juvenile possessed the handgun.
If a parent or person with legal custody gives written permission to sell a firearm to a juvenile, that is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Texas law. Except for firearms sales, it is also an affirmative defense for transfers if a parent or person with legal custody gives effective consent. Oral permission could constitute effective consent in Texas.
Contact an Experienced Collin County Federal Firearm Violations Attorney
If you face charges of transferring a firearm to a juvenile, your liberty is at risk. You need a criminal defense attorney with the skill and experience to assert and protect your rights. The criminal defense attorneys of Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian can help protect and maintain your freedom by mounting a forceful, solid defense in your criminal matter. Call us today at (972) 369-0577 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Collin County criminal defense attorney.