Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or (“UPF“) in Texas is a gun crime that applies to people who have been convicted of a felony, convicted of a family violence assault or under a family violence-type protective order. This Texas law prohibits those people, described in more detail below, from carrying firearms. Separate federal law also applies to firearm possession by felons.
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The Texas UPF law does not apply to felons after 5 years has passed from the later of the person’s release from confinement parole or community supervision if the firearm was found at the person’s house. Similarly, the UPF law does not apply to people who have been convicted of family violence crimes more than 5 years after the person was released from jail or community supervision (whichever was later).
The current Texas law defines the offense of Unlawful Possession of Firearm in Penal Code Section §46.04 as follows:
(a) A person who has been convicted of a felony commits an offense if he possesses a firearm:
(1) after conviction and before the fifth anniversary of the person’s release from confinement following conviction of the felony or the person’s release from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision, whichever date is later; or
(2) after the period described by Subdivision (1), at any location other than the premises at which the person lives.
(a-1) A person who is a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01, commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft.
(b) A person who has been convicted of an offense under Section 22.01, punishable as a Class A misdemeanor and involving a member of the person’s family or household, commits an offense if the person possesses a firearm before the fifth anniversary of the later of:
(2) the date of the person’s release from community supervision following conviction of the misdemeanor.
(c) A person, other than a peace officer, as defined by Section 1.07, actively engaged in employment as a sworn, full-time paid employee of a state agency or political subdivision, who is subject to an order issued under Section 6.504 or Chapter 85, Family Code, under Article 17.292 or Subchapter A, Chapter 7B, Code of Criminal Procedure, or by another jurisdiction as provided by Chapter 88, Family Code, commits an offense if the person possesses a firearm after receiving notice of the order and before expiration of the order.
A firearm is defined in Texas Penal Code Section 46.01(3):
“Firearm” means any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use. Firearm does not include a firearm that may have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other characteristics of weapons made illegal by this chapter and that is:
(A) an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899; or
(B) a replica of an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899, but only if the replica does not use rim fire or center fire ammunition.
UPF is punished as a third degree felony if it is charged under subsection (a), but it is punished as a Class A Misdemeanor if it charged under subsection (b) or (c).
UPF is different from Unlawful Carrying Weapons (UCW) primarily because UPF only applies to people who have been convicted of a felony, convicted of a family violence assault or under a family violence-type protective order while UCW applies to everyone except those who are specifically exempt. Learn more about UCW