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Can a Felon Own a Gun in Texas?

Can a Felon Own a Gun in Texas

A convicted felon must give up numerous rights in Texas. One of the many rights that a Texan has to give up after being convicted is the right to own a gun.

Like all states in America, Texas complies with the federal and state gun laws. This means any individual who is looking to purchase a rifle or a handgun in the state is restricted if they have a felony conviction on their record.

This however does not mean that you cannot purchase a gun in Texas after a felony. Certain restrictions are put forward however after a while these restrictions are removed. This depends on the kind of felony as well.

Although Texas has certain limitations with regards to felons owning a gun, it is one of the more lenient states when it comes to issuing a license to felons.

Texas Gun Laws

Saying that Texan felons cannot own a gun is an overstatement. This is because there are many exceptions that the state has in terms of who can be issued a gun license.

A Felon who was convicted five years ago has every right to request a pardon from the Governor and get a gun license issued in their name. This includes felons who have had their records:

can a felon own a gun in texas

  • Expunged
  • Annulled
  • Invalidated
  • Voided
  • Sealed

These felons have the right to apply for a gun license. This however does come with exceptions which means that a felon may sometimes have to wait for as long as 10 years before they can get their firearms license.

Certain felony charges cannot get a firearm license no matter how long they wait to get the records sealed and expunged. These include:

  • Trafficking
  • Stalking
  • Family violence
  • Felony theft
  • White Collar crime
  • Robbery
  • Sexual offensive
  • Criminal homicide:
  • Kidnapping
  • Capital felony
  • Unlawful restraint

Certain crimes also bar a felon from ever being able to obtain a gun and a license. These cases, however, are rare and in some scenarios, the felon may get a pardon conviction that may result in a reversal of the ban.

Individuals with a misdemeanor or an equivalent offense will also have to wait at least 5 years before they apply for gun ownership. Felony charges that fall under the indictment also reserve the right to ban an individual from getting a firearm license.

Federal Gun Laws

Apart from the state laws that Texas imposes on convicted felons, they also need to adhere to the federal laws which are sometimes more stringent than the state laws. There are usually hefty penalties involved for felons who are looking to get a firearms license.

This means that if a felon had a license in the past and is looking to get it reinstated they will have to pay a penalty before they get back their license.

Based on federal law, any felon who was convicted by a court for more than a year is not allowed to own a firearm unless the federal law makes an exception for them. In simple terms apart from getting permission from the state of Texas, felons will also need federal approval for owning a gun.

As of now, as per federal or state law, it is illegal for a felon to own a firearm that is not authorized by both the state and the federal government.

The Gun Laws in Texas

If a felon fails to respect the restrictions placed on obtaining firearms and still goes ahead and obtains one in the black market, they get on the wrong side of the law. This means that the individual can face up to 10 years in prison.

can felon own the gun in texas

If you thought that a misdemeanor is not serious and you can obtain a firearm license after 5 years then you are wrong. You should know that if the misdemeanor was for domestic violence or misuse of a firearm or explosive, the felon is restricted from owning a firearm unless they get federal approval.

In most cases, if the state permits a felon to own a gun, the federal government also approves it. Firearm laws are quite complex. It is important to consult the authorities to ensure you don’t get on the wrong side of crime.

Why Are Texans Gun Crazy?

Gun sales are known to be higher in Texas than in most other states. If you are wondering what drives Texans crazy about firearms then here are a few popular reasons for them owning a gun.

Safety & Protection

Crimes in Texas are higher than in most other states in the United States. People living in Texas love keeping a gun at home or in their car for safety and protection. This helps them to sleep better at night knowing that if an intruder comes in, they can be scared off with their firearm.

It can also be used as self-defense however this is not recommended. It is better to scare the intruder rather than shoot them.

can felon own the gun in texas

While some Texans love hanging the family rifle in the living area, others like to keep a small revolver stacked up in their safe. It is always better to keep your firearm out of public sight. This is because if it is ever involved in a shooting, the license will get traced back to you. You will then be dragged into the case even if you didn’t commit it.


Hunting is a popular sport in Texas and it is legal. Come hunting season, almost every Texan turns into a hunter to capture game meat that they can feast upon. Hunting isn’t just a sport in Texas. It is a tradition passed down from one generation to another. Families that hunt together often require more than one gun and this involves more than one license.


There is an old saying that goes – a Texan is not a true Texan unless they own a gun. Owning a gun in Texas is a matter of pride.

It’s common to have a dining table conversation with regards to who owns the biggest and the most exclusive firearm. This is done to gain boasting rights. Texans often go hunting together just to show off their hunting skills and their weapons.

Texans also love carrying forward the legacy of their family-owned weapons and pass it from one generation to another. Certain weapons are considered old classics. Since some of them are no longer manufactured, they hold a proud place on the mantle. The owner of the gun puffs his chest in pride whenever guests come over.

Governors Pardon

A popular step to acquire permission to get a firearm license for felons includes the governor’s pardon. This is a form that a convicted felon can fill out requesting the governor to pardon or excuse their felony so they can get a license. There are a few things to note here.

  • This does not expunge the records in any way.
  • Whether or not you will be pardoned will be the sole discretion of the governor however it is worth a try.
  • If your crime is more than five years old, there is a good chance of the governor pardoning it.

If you are a Texan and you love your firearm, it is important to acquire it in a legal way even if it takes time. Don’t risk another conviction by trying to cheat and get a firearm. There are various methods to get a license the right way. If you do it right, you will not look over your shoulder ever again.

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