Domestic Violence & Firearms in Texas

Posted on January 1, 2012

See our Domestic Violence and Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Texas law does not:

  • Require the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers who have become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal or state law; or
  • Explicitly authorize or require the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants

Texas prohibits firearm possession by domestic violence misdemeanants for five years following release from confinement or community supervision.1 These gun possession prohibitions attach to a domestic violence misdemeanor offender for offenses committed against: 1) a former or current dating partner of the offender or someone with whom the offender has had a romantic relationship; 2) any present or former household member or cohabitant of the offender, regardless of their relationship to the offender; and 3) specified family members of the offender, regardless of whether they reside with the offender.2 However, a broader federal law prohibits domestic violence misdemeanants from possessing firearms regardless of when the conviction occurred.

If a person is convicted of a misdemeanor involving family violence, the court must notify the person of the fact that it is unlawful for the person to possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition.3

A peace officer who is issuing a citation for certain misdemeanors is required to provide the person with the following written notice:

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving violence where you are or were a spouse, intimate partner, parent, or guardian of the victim or are or were involved in another, similar relationship with the victim, it may be unlawful for you to possess or purchase a firearm, including a handgun or long gun, or ammunition, pursuant to federal law under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(9) or Section 46.04(b), Texas Penal Code. If you have any questions whether these laws make it illegal for you to possess or purchase a firearm, you should consult an attorney.4

A court that is accepting a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere by a defendant charged with a misdemeanor involving family violence must admonish the defendant using the same statement, either orally or in writing.5

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Protective Orders

Texas law prohibits firearm possession by any person (other than an active, sworn, full-time, paid peace officer) who is subject to a protective order for a party to a suit for dissolution of a marriage, a protective order for family violence, a magistrate’s order for emergency protection following an arrest for family violence, sexual assault or stalking, a protective order for a victim of sexual assault, or a domestic violence protective order issued by another jurisdiction if he or she has received notice of the order.6

The firearm possession prohibitions attach to a person who violates a domestic violence protective order issued for violence he or she committed against: 1) a former or current dating partner of the offender or someone with whom the offender has had a romantic relationship; 2) any present or former household member or cohabitant of the offender, regardless of their relationship to the offender; and 3) specified family members of the offender, regardless of whether they reside with the offender.7

If a court issues a temporary ex parte order for family violence, the order may direct the subject of the order to do or refrain from doing specific acts, but does not specify whether specifically prohibiting the subject from possessing a firearm is a permissible restriction.8 Nevertheless, any protective order for family violence, including a temporary ex parte order, must contain the following statement: “It is unlawful for any person, other than a peace officer, as defined by section 1.07, Penal Code, actively engaged in employment as a sworn, full-time paid employee of a state agency or political subdivision, who is subject to a protective order to possess a firearm or ammunition.”9

Protective orders for victims of sexual assault and victims of human trafficking, even temporary ex parte orders, must also contain this statement.10

A magistrate issuing a protective order following an arrest for family violence, sexual assault or stalking or a court issuing a protective order against family violence must suspend the perpetrator’s license to carry a concealed handgun.11 Courts also have authority to suspend a license when issuing a protective order for a victim of sexual assault or human trafficking (even when an arrest is not made).12

  1. Tex. Penal Code § 46.04(b). See also Tex. Penal Code § 22.01(a). []
  2. Tex. Fam. Code §§ 71.0021, 71.003, 71.005, 71.006. []
  3. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.0131 []
  4. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 14.06(b). []
  5. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 27.14(e)(1). []
  6. Texas Penal Code § 46.04(c). Texas law also prohibits the knowing or intentional possession of a firearm in violation of an outstanding court order issued under Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 17.292, Tex. Fam. Code § 6.504, Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 85, Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 83 (temporary ex parte protective orders; applies only if the temporary ex parte order has been served on the person), or by another jurisdiction as provided under Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 88. Tex. Penal Code § 25.07(a). See also Tex. Fam. Code § 85.022(b)(6) (authorizing courts to prohibit the subject of a protective order who committed family violence from possessing a firearm); Tex. Penal Code § 38.112(a)(3) (prohibiting the knowing possession of a firearm in violation of a protective order granted to a victim of sexual assault); and Tex. Crim Proc. Code art. 7B.06(a)(D) (authorizing courts to prohibit the subject of a protective order for a victim of human trafficking from possessing a firearm). []
  7. Tex. Fam. Code §§ 71.0021, 71.003, 71.005, 71.006. Tex. Penal Code § 25.07(a), (b). []
  8. Tex. Fam. Code § 83.001. []
  9. Tex. Fam. Code § 85.026. []
  10. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 7A.06, 7B.07(a). []
  11. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 17.292(l). []
  12. Tex. Crim. Proc. Code art. 7A.05(c), 7B.06(c); Tex. Fam. Code § 85.022(d). []