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Can a Felon
Possess a Firearm in Texas?
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

This is a situation where you would go wrong if you only looked at Texas law. Texas law lets a convicted felon possess a firearm on the premises where he lives once five years have elapsed from his release from prison or from parole, whichever is later. Texas Penal Code 46.04.

However, federal law is much stricter. It generally prohibits a person convicted of a crime "punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" from possessing a firearm. The test is the length of possible punishment, not whether the crime is called a misdemeanor or a felony. No exception is made for having a firearm at the home, no matter how long ago the conviction. 18 U.S.C. 922(g).

Also, Federal law makes it unlawful for anyone under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to receive (possess) any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. 18 U.S.C. 922(n).

Question answered 1/17/04

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