Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon

Texas allows licensed individuals to openly carry handguns in shoulder or belt holsters, but the state still prohibits guns and other weapons from being carried into certain locations. Some weapons are expressly prohibited from being possessed anywhere in the state.

Criminal charges relating to unlawful carrying of a weapon or handgun can be misdemeanor or felony offenses, depending on certain factors. Many people accused of these types of crimes had absolutely no criminal intent and may have even forgotten that they possessed a firearm or other weapon.

Lawyer for Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Arrests in Denton, TX

Were you recently arrested in Denton County for an alleged unlawful carrying weapon or handgun offense? Contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy as soon as possible to begin exploring your legal options.

Denton criminal defense attorneys Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton represent clients accused of firearm and weapons crimes in communities all over Denton County, including Lewisville, Little Elm, The Colony, Argyle, Flower Mound, Highland Village, and many others. Call 940-222-8004 today to have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.


Denton County Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Information Center


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Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Penalties in Texas

Under Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a), alleged offenders commit the crime of unlawful carrying weapons if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry on or about his or her person a handgun, illegal knife, or club while they are not on their own premises or premises under their control, or inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by them or under their control. The weapons defined in this statute are defined as follows:

  • Handgun —Any firearm that is designed, made, or adapted to be fired with one hand;
  • Illegal knife — A knife with a blade over five and one-half inches; hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown; dagger—including, but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard; bowie knife; sword; or spear.
  • Club — 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, and includes but is not limited to the following: blackjack; nightstick; mace; and tomahawk.

Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a-1) also makes it illegal for alleged offenders to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry on or about their person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by them or under their control at any time in which either:

  • the handgun is in plain view, unless the alleged offender is licensed to carry a handgun in Texas Government and the handgun is carried in a shoulder or belt holster; or
  • the alleged offender is engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic or boating; prohibited by law from possessing a firearm; or a member of a criminal street gang.

Either of the violations listed above is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000, but crimes can become third-degree felony offenses punishable up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if committed on any premises licensed or issued a permit by this state for the sale of alcoholic beverages. It is also a third-degree felony under Texas Penal Code § 46.05 for an alleged offender to intentionally or knowingly possess, manufacture, transport, repair, or sell any of the following items, unless the item is registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or classified as a curio or relic by the United States Department of Justice:

  • an explosive weapon;
  • a machine gun;
  • a short-barrel firearm; or
  • a firearm silencer;

People are also prohibited from intentionally or knowingly possessing, manufacturing, transporting, repairing, or selling any of the following:

  • knuckles;
  • armor-piercing ammunition;
  • a chemical dispensing device;
  • a zip gun; or
  • a tire deflation device.

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Unlawful Carrying of Handgun Penalties in Denton County

Texas Penal Code § 46.035 establishes several ways in which a person can commit the offense of unlawful carrying of handgun by license holder. License holders under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code may be charged with this crime if they:

  • Carry a handgun on or about their person and intentionally display the handgun in plain view of another person in a public place (it is an exception to the application of this subsection that the handgun was partially or wholly visible but was carried in a shoulder or belt holster by the license holder);
  • Carry a partially or wholly visible handgun, regardless of whether the handgun is holstered, on or about their person and intentionally or knowingly display the handgun in plain view of another person on the premises of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education, or on any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education;
  • Carry a handgun on the campus of a private or independent institution of higher education in Texas that has established rules, regulations, or other provisions prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns or on the grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by such an institution is being conducted, or in a passenger transportation vehicle of such an institution, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, provided the institution gives effective notice;
  • Carry a concealed handgun on a portion of a premises located on the campus of an institution of higher education in Texas on which the carrying of a concealed handgun is prohibited by rules, regulations, or other provisions established under Texas Government Code § 411.2031(d-1), provided the institution gives effective notice with respect to that portion;
  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed or carried in a shoulder or belt holster, on or about the license holder's person on the premises of a business that has a permit or license issued under Chapter 25, 28, 32, 69, or 74 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, if the business derives 51 percent or more of its income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, as determined by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission; on the premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place, unless the license holder is a participant in the event and a handgun is used in the event; on the premises of a correctional facility; on the premises of a hospital licensed under Chapter 241, Health and Safety Code, or on the premises of a nursing facility licensed under Chapter 242, Health and Safety Code, unless the license holder has written authorization of the hospital or nursing facility administration, as appropriate; in an amusement park; or on the premises of a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship;
  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed or carried in a shoulder or belt holster, in the room or rooms where a meeting of a governmental entity is held and if the meeting is an open meeting subject to Chapter 551 of the Texas Government Code, and the entity provided notice;
  • While intoxicated, carry a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed or carried in a shoulder or belt holster; or
  • Licensed as a security officer and employed as a security officer, while in the course and scope of their employment, violate a provision of Subchapter H, Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code.

If the alleged offender intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun on the premises of a correctional facility or on the premises of a licensed business that derives 51 percent or more of its income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, the alleged offense is a third-degree felony. All other violations listed above are Class A misdemeanor.


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Texas Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Resources

Handgun Licensing | Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) — On this section of the DPS website, you can find information about the state’s Handgun Licensing Program. You can download forms, read administrative rules, and review answers to frequently asked questions. You can also access various reports and statistics.

Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46 | Weapons — View the full text of state laws relating to weapons offenses. You can find important definitions as well as a full list of places where weapons are prohibited. You can also read about the criminal penalties that apply to offenses committed within weapon-free school zones.


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Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Denton Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Defense Attorney

If you were arrested for an alleged unlawful carrying weapon or handgun offense in Denton County, it will be in your best interest to not say anything to authorities until you have legal counsel. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy aggressively defends clients accused of these types of offenses in Lewisville, Highland Village, Flower Mound, Argyle, The Colony, Little Elm, and many surrounding areas of Denton County.

Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Denton who can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. You can have them review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call 940-222-8004 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.


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A few months before I moved out of Texas, I was arrested for DWI. The problem was I was building a new life in another state with greater opportunities. I needed to find an attorney to handle my special situation being an out of state client who also travels out of the country. My case was in Denton County, which I have heard is a very difficult county to deal with. Because of my job I was in need of special accommodations from the court so I would not lose my career. After several months of tough negotiations with the DA, Richard and Brian were able to finalize my case beyond my expectations. I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who has run into some trouble anywhere they might get a DWI.

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