Silencer Laws in TX


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Prince Yamato
March 17, 2009, 10:56 PM
Please read carefully:

I am fully aware of the process of owning a silencer in Texas. I just purchased one and had my prints done today. I want to know the other legalities. What are the laws concerning things like transport, carry, concealed vs. unconcealed, prohibited places, etc.

I don't care to hear, "well the D.A. will nail you and _____". I am fully aware that I am up the creak if I do something stupid with a silencer and that it is not politically correct to own them. I'm not saying that I want to push the law to the limit the moment I get this, but I want to know what the limits are so that I don't accidentally cross them. Moreover, I've grown so sick to death of old wive's tales concerning gun laws, that I want to start getting these things cleared up.

When I got my CHL, my intent was to carry everywhere legal. Well, I spent twice as much on this device as I did on my CHL, so my intent is to use it for "all lawful purposes" as I put on my Form 4. So, what are "all lawful purposes" as defined by Texas law? What about carrying a silencer attached to a loaded pistol in my car, etc.? If possible can people post links to official websites that state the law?

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PT1911
March 17, 2009, 11:00 PM
Texas has laws limiting the carrying and use of guns and gun accessories? weird....:neener:

Prince Yamato
March 18, 2009, 12:11 AM
See, that's what I was thinking. To the best of my knowledge, Texas treats NFA weapons like rifles and shotguns. So, theoretically, anything I should be legal to do with a combination of handgun + CCW and rifle, I should be able to do with handgun and suppressor. I want to know for sure that there's not some obscure law coded in the 1930s that says something to the contrary.

Frog48
March 18, 2009, 12:13 AM
What are the laws concerning things like transport, carry, concealed vs. unconcealed, prohibited places, etc.

To the best of my knowledge, state law makes no differentiation between suppressed and unsuppressed firearms with regard to those things IE: method of carry, transport, places prohibited, etc. I believe they are treated the same as any other firearm.

Crunker1337
March 18, 2009, 12:20 AM
I don't know if you're interested in this, but to the best of my knowledge, there are no Texan laws against hunting/varminteering with suppressed weapons.

Jorg Nysgerrig
March 18, 2009, 12:24 AM
I don't know if you're interested in this, but to the best of my knowledge, there are no Texan laws against hunting/varminteering with suppressed weapons.
I'm curious where you got this information. Have you hunted in Texas?

The State of Texas seems to disagree with you about game animals:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/nonpwdpubs/media/outdoor_annual_2008_2009.pdf

Firearms
• Game animals and game birds may be hunted with any legal firearm, EXCEPT:
• white-tailed deer, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope may NOT be hunted with rimfire ammunition of any caliber.
• shotguns are the only legal firearm that may be used to hunt Eastern turkey during the spring Eastern turkey season (see County Listings). Rifles and handguns may not be used to hunt Eastern turkey.
• pellet guns and other air guns are NOT LEGAL.
• fully automatic firearms are NOT LEGAL.
• firearms equipped with silencers or sound-suppressing devices are NOT LEGAL.
• a shotgun is the only legal firearm for hunting migratory game birds and lesser prairie chicken (see Definitions - Legal Shotgun, pg. 69).
• Nongame Animals (Non-Protected): Any lawful firearm, pellet gun, or other air gun is legal.

Frog48
March 18, 2009, 12:26 AM
Jorg beat me to it. :D

Crunker1337
March 18, 2009, 01:06 AM
To be honest, I got that information from anecdote from a Texan hunter I know. Sorry for the BS information, and I'll pass that link along to him.

PT1911
March 18, 2009, 01:12 AM
so.. I want to hunt prairie chicken...lol..

Txhillbilly
March 18, 2009, 01:20 AM
Varmits are not game animals in Texas,and from talking to my local game warden,I was told you could use one hunting varmits,but it would be advised to give them a courtesy call before hand,the same as we do if we are spotlighting varmits at night.

Jorg Nysgerrig
March 18, 2009, 01:28 AM
I was told you could use one hunting varmits.
That does look to be the case. I did include the blurb on non-game animals. The earlier post said hunting/varminteering (which is a word I don't think I've ever heard before) rather than hunting varmints, so it wasn't clear whether Crunker meant all hunting or not.

The problem that arises is that if you're out there and it's not clear what you are hunting. That's why your mention of a call isn't a bad idea. Many states restrict suppressors on non-game animals as well, just to avoid such situations.

As always, it's in your best interest to verify local laws. :)

MaterDei
March 18, 2009, 01:34 AM
I was told you could use one hunting varmits,but it would be advised to give them a courtesy call before hand,the same as we do if we are spotlighting varmits at night.

I'm curious why they would want a courtesy call.

CapnMac
March 18, 2009, 01:46 AM
I'm curious why they would want a courtesy call.

Probably so that if someone said "I seen me some dudes jacklightin' out on [road], they'd not rush on out there.

But, that is a flat out guess n my part.

CapnMac
March 18, 2009, 01:54 AM
Now, Carry Law in Texas is wonderfully silent on exactly "what" a person can carry legally (presuming they meet one of the definitions for "defense against prosecution"). This could be adding to any confusion out there.

Now, as a matter of experience, I'd wager that having a suppressed weapon at a traffic stop is much more likely to find out what the prosecutor in that specific County will define as worthy of prosecution, too. Been a lot of work out there, getting uniforms up to speed, but the human condition allows for persons of every amount of stubborn to swift to slow to on-the-ball, too.

Prince Yamato
March 18, 2009, 03:02 AM
I'd wager that having a suppressed weapon at a traffic stop is much more likely to find out what the prosecutor in that specific County will define as worthy of prosecution, too.

Here's the thing though, if I have a copy of my Form 4 and am carrying legally, what can they do? They can't seize a legally owned weapon. That would be an illegal seizure of an NFA weapon and I would call the ATF on the sheriff. I'm in the database, so they know who I am. My fingerprints are in the Texas DPS for my CHL and driver's license, and in the FBI database for the silencer (or will be very soon). Conspiracy theories aside, they really can't do anything other than say, "well sir, it's rather unusually to have someone who is stopped carrying a loaded and silenced weapon." To which I would agree, take my traffic ticket and be on my way. In general, I think all I'd experience was a routine traffic stop. I've already been pulled over for speeding while carrying. It's no big deal. Here's the other thing; the Form 4 has the CLEO's signature on it. So whoever stopped me, it was likely that it is their boss' signature on the Form 4 or at least the signature of someone who would be their superior if they were under his jurisdiction. I registered the weapon for "all lawful purposes". So if the sheriff signed and agreed to it, what could the deputy do. Keep in mind that I have the utmost respect for law enforcement and I never am disrespectful to authorities, so I wouldn't be an ass at a traffic stop.

What about other instances, like say, walking to and from my car in the apartment parking lot with the weapon concealed (holstered or something similar) and attached to a loaded weapon?

The hunting laws are interesting, though, I don't hunt. Keep it coming folks. This is interesting!

CapnMac
March 18, 2009, 03:18 AM
if I have a copy of my Form 4 and am carrying legally, what can they do? They can't seize a legally owned weapon.

Well, remember, here in Texas, the four exceptions to the carry law are only defenses against prosecution--they are not defenses against arrest or property seizure (under an aegis of "public safety" typically).

Yes, that's screwed up. It certainly seems to violate sveral constitutional principals prima facie. Until someone gets the issue into court and points out that Ohio's similar law failed constitutional muster, it is what it is.

It was not so very long ago that San Antonio PD had a standing policy of any weapon found in a traffic stop was seized. Which went on far too long until brought to a stop by injunction.

The number of differing poliicies just in Harris County is pretty staggering--consistency is not that common for anything, let alone any topic as rife with half-truths and hearsay as firearms ownership..

My read of Texas law is that if you meet the carry rules (with exceptions for subpara d) you can carry about anything you wanted, from a suppressed Skorpion to a plasma rifle in the 4MW range. The 'gotcha' there being it's still down to the uniform in polyester and a vest along side the road to decide if you or the County Prosecutor will be a bigger hassle.

PoPo22
March 18, 2009, 10:55 AM
As long as you keep your "federal license" with you and you are a legal "CHL" holder then there should be no problem with the silencer. I have several friends who have them and carry them back and forth to their range, not a problem.

Art Eatman
March 18, 2009, 06:16 PM
I would not worry about a silenced handgun on my person in Texas if I have the proper paperwork with me. CHL and BATFE paper would suit most any LEO I've ever met.

A courtesy call before night-hunting for varmints saves hassles and wear and tear on game warden's cars. It lets them reassure some person who properly calls in when there might be poaching going on.

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