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Places Weapons Prohibited: The Texas Offense

What is the Places Weapons Prohibited Crime?

Places Weapons Prohibited is a Texas offense that prohibits a person from possesing weapons in certain places. To obtain a conviction, the state’s attorneys must prove that the accused person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possessed or went to a prohibited place with a weapon covered under the statute.

Have you been charged with Places Weapons Prohibited? Call criminal lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305.

Places Weapons Prohibited contains some of the most hotly-debated law in Texas politics. The concealed carry and open carry rules have been frequently amended, especially with regard to educational institutions.

What is a prohibited place?

The Places Weapons Prohibited law is found in Texas Penal Code Section 46.03:

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon listed in Section 46.05(a):

The law then continues by listing, in six subsections, six categories of places where a person is prohibited from carrying those weapons.

Subsection 1 describes schools, events sponsored by schools and school vehicles. However, there are two exceptions. Carrying a weapon is not prohibited on the school premises if the institution authorized the carrying of the weapon in writing or if you are carrying a licensed concealed weapon on a college campus or a place where the college is sponsoring an event.1

The second subsection describes polling places, but only on election-day and during early-voting.2 The third group of prohibited places are courts and offices used by the courts, unless the weapon is allowed by written authorization of the court.3 The fourth and fifth prohibited places are racetracks4 and secured areas of airports.5

The sixth and final subsection is within 1,000 feet of a “place of execution” on the day a death sentence is scheduled to be carried out.6 However, within this prohibited place, people are excepted from prosecution who possess a firearm or club (1) while in a driving vehicle on a public road or (2) while at the person’s residence or employment location.7 This makes sense because it protects people from committing an offense who are merely driving on a public road close to an execution location. The exception also protects people who live or work close to an execution location.

What weapons are covered?

The prohibited weapons are firearms, illegal knives, clubs, and “prohibited weapons listed in 46.05(a).”8

The prohibited weapons from 46.05(a) are explosive weapons, machine guns, short-barrel firearms, firearm silencers, knuckles, armor-piercing ammunition, chemical dispensing devices, zip guns, and tire deflation devices. These prohibited weapons are described in more detail in Section 46.01.

Firearm is defined in Subsection 46.01(3) as “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.” Illegal knives are defined in Subsection 46.01(6) to include the following (1) a knife with a blade over five and one-half inches, (2) a throwing knife, (3) a dagger, (4) a bowie kniife, (5) a sword or (6) a spear.

Club is defined in Subsection 46.01(1) as “an instrument that is specially designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with the instrument.” This is a very broad definition that includes items like baseball bats and axes.

Who is not covered by the the Places Weapons Prohibited offense?

The Places Weapons Prohibited offense does not apply to (1) peace officers or special investigators (under Article 2.122, Code of Criminal Procedure), (2) so long as they are licensed to carry a gun, active judicial officers (as defined by Section 411.201, Government Code), district, county and municipal attorneys and their assistants and (3) under many circumstances, parole officers, community supervision officers, corrections department officers, honorably retired peace officers and federal criminal investigators.9

Does Places Weapons Prohibited apply to soldiers, officers of the court or penal institution guards?

If you are a member of the armed forces, a member of the national guard, a guard for a penal institution, or an officer of the court, acting in your official duty, then you cannot be found guilty of carrying a prohibited weapon in any of the first four categories of places.10

What are the other statutory defenses to the Places Weapons Prohibited offense?

In addition to the nonapplicability section listed above and the active duty defense listed above, there are three other statutory defenses.

A person in the armed forces or national guard, penal institution guards, and certain security officers have a defense to (a)(5) prosecutions (secured parts of the airport) if they carried a firearm or club while (1) traveling to or from an assigned work place or (2) in the discharge of duty.11

Another statutory defense to an (a)(5) prosecution is that the person checked all firearms as baggage before entering into a secured area of an airport.12 A person also has a defense to an (a)(5) prosecution if the person had a concealed handgun that the person was licensed to carry concealed and immediately exited the screening checkpoint in accordance with the statute.13

The last defense listed by the Places Weapons Prohibited statute applies to certain security officers who possess a firearm or club while going to or from a racetrack or while exercising duties as a security officer at a racetrack.14

What if I had a concealed handgun license?

Other than the situation described above (regarding secured areas of airports), it is not a defense to prosecution of Places Weapons Prohbited that you had a concealed handgun license.15

What is the penalty for a Places Weapons Prohibited conviction?

Places Weapons Prohibited is a third degree felony offense in the state of Texas.16


Legal References:

1 Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(a)(1)(A)&(B)

2 Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(a)(2)

3 Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(a)(3)

4 Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(a)(4)

5 Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(a)(5)

6 Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(a)(6)

7 Texas Penal Code 46.03(i)

8 Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(a)

9 Texas Penal Code Section 46.05(a)(1)-(9)

10 Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(b)

11 Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(d)(1)-(4)

12 See Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(e)

13 Texas Penal Code 46.03(e-1)

14 Texas Penal Code 46.03(h)

15 Texas Penal Code 46.03(f)

16 Texas Penal Code 46.03(g)