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What are Gun Crimes in Plano, Texas?

Gun crimes in Plano are criminal offenses carried out with the use of firearms. Examples of such criminal offenses may include but are not limited to robbery, assault, sexual violence, and homicide. In addition, the Texas Penal Code Chapter 46 identifies some offenses linked to the use and possession of firearms and punishment. These include:

Unlawful Carrying of Weapons:

In line with sec 46.02., an individual below the age of 21 years commits an offense if they intentionally or recklessly carry a firearm. In addition, it is an offense if such an individual has been convicted of any in sec 22.01 (a)(1), 22.05, 22.07, 42.01 (a)(7), or (8) within the last five years. Some other instances that may constitute an offense include:

  • An individual carrying a firearm on a premise that is not theirs or under their control.
  • An individual carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is not owned or controlled by them.
  • An individual carrying a firearm is engaged in criminal activity.

The offenses under this section may be a Class A misdemeanor, Class C misdemeanor, second-degree felony, or third-degree, depending on the factors involved.

Places Weapons Are Prohibited:

Per sec 46.03 of the Penal Code, the law prohibits individuals from intentionally or recklessly carrying a firearm in an educational institution, racetrack, polling places, government courts, correctional facilities, or secured area of an airport. Individuals who commit this offense may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. In addition, carrying a gun within a correctional facility or place where beverages are sold is a third-degree felony.

Unlawful Carrying of Handgun by a License Holder:

Individuals who are licensed to carry a gun in Plano may commit a gun crime if they intentionally display a gun to another person in a public place. In addition, license holders may commit an offense if they carry a gun on a school premises regardless of whether it is public or private. In compliance with Texas Penal Code, such offense is a Class A misdemeanor or third-degree felony depending on the factors involved.

Unlawful Possession of Firearm:

An individual with a prior felony conviction commits an offense if they possess a firearm on premises other than where they live within five years of being released. It also includes individuals released from community supervision, mandatory supervision, or parole. Under sec 46.04, this type of gun crime is considered a third-degree felony.

Prohibited Weapons:

According to sec 46.05 of the Texas Penal Code, a person who intentionally possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells an explosive weapon, machine gun, or short-barrel firearm. However, such a person may not commit a crime if the item is registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The law also permits items that are not subject to registration or considered curio or relic by the United States Department of Justice. An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

Unlawful Transfer of Certain Weapons:

Under sec 46.06, a person commits an offense if they sell, rent, leases, loans, or give a firearm to another person knowing it may be used to commit an unlawful act. Furthermore, a person who knowingly sells, rents, leases, loans, or gives a firearm to any individual below the age of 18, convicted of a felony, or intoxicated individual commits a gun crime. Depending on other factors involved, such offense is a state jail felony or a Class A misdemeanor.

Components of explosives:

An individual commits an offense if they intentionally possess components of an explosive weapon with the intent to form an explosive weapon to use in criminal activity. According to sec 46.09, such an offense is a third-degree felony.

How Many Gun Crimes are Committed with a Legally Obtained Firearm in Plano, Texas?

Per the 2020 report, the Texas Department of Public Safety documented 114 crimes committed by individuals with legally obtained firearms (LTC holders - License To Carry). Meanwhile, in the 2019 report, the Department recorded 215 crimes committed by LTC holders.

Who Can Possess a Gun in Plano, Texas?

In compliance with the Firearm Carry Act, individuals who are 21 years and above can possess a gun in Plano, Texas, without a license. Also, such persons must not be prohibited from carrying a gun by any state or federal law. However, interested individuals may obtain a License To Carry (LTC) from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The Department is responsible for conducting criminal history background checks on applicants to ensure their eligibility. It also monitors the already licensed individuals in Plano and other areas. In line with Texas laws, individuals who wish to carry a gun in Plano must:

  • Be 21 years of age or above
  • Not be convicted of a felony in the past
  • Not be convicted of certain misdemeanors
  • Not be restricted to possess a firearm by federal law
  • Not be subject to an unexpired protective order.

What if My Gun is Stolen and Used in a Crime in Plano, Texas?

Victims of stolen guns in Plano must report the case to the local law enforcement agency, such as the Plano Police Department. It ensures the authorities are aware of the situation before a licensed gun is used to commit a crime. Typically, a firearm used to commit a crime may be traced to the manufacturer or licensed holder. The unlawful use of firearms is often a federal offense handled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The ATF is responsible for investigating and preventing unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and weapons. 

How Often is a Gun Used to Stop a Crime in Plano, Texas?

According to a National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) report, the use of firearms or guns to stop a crime is estimated about 65,000 times in a year. The process of using a gun to stop a crime is known as Defensive Gun Use (DGU). In line with the Texas Penal Code 9.31, "a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree, the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force."

Consequences for Immigrants with Gun Crime Convictions

Immigrants with gun crime convictions in Plano may be deported from the United States of America. Under U.S. Codes, a conviction for an offense involving a firearm may lead to deportation or removal from the country. Often than not, crimes committed by an immigrant may be classified under a crime involving moral turpitude (“CIMT”) or aggravated felony.

Plano Weapons and Firearms Violation Attorneys

Individuals charged with a firearm violation in Plano may need a weapons and firearms violation attorney to defend them in court due to the strict and complex Texas laws on this type of offense. An expert lawyer performs the following to win a weapons and firearms case:

  • Interview the accused and witnesses to the case. 
  • Represent the accused in court due to the complex nature of Texas firearms laws.
  • Examine the evidence and determine the best possible defense.

There are different ways a weapons and firearms violation attorney can defend an individual charged with gun crimes. Whether to reduce the penalty or clear the defendant, the techniques an attorney may deploy are dependent on the case. Some of the defenses include:

  • Suppress evidence: A weapons and firearms violation attorney may use the ‘suppress evidence’ technique in a defendant’s case if the process of obtaining the evidence infringes on their human rights. For instance, evidence obtained through an unwarranted search can be challenged by an attorney. Also, the attorney can challenge evidence gathered through search warrants that have no justification.
  • License to Carry: Another defense technique available is that the defendant is eligible to carry a gun. The defense attorney must provide evidence that demonstrates the defendant is permitted to carry a gun. Examples of individuals allowed to carry a gun in Plano include law enforcement officers, peace officers, national guards, and LTC holders.
  • Lack of Knowledge: A weapons and firearms attorney must provide evidence that the defendant is unaware that a gun is in their possession. An individual can only be convicted of a gun crime once their intention or recklessness is established. For instance, the attorney can use this defense technique if the gun was found in a shared apartment or place.
  • Lack of possession: An attorney can build a defense case if the firearm was not in the defendant’s possession. For instance, the defendant can contest guns found in a vehicle with other people present.
  • Acceptable firearms: According to the Texas weapons and firearms law, the definition of a firearm does not include curio or antiques produced before 1899. It also does not consist of replicas of such items. A weapons and firearms lawyer can use this defense approach if the firearm is undefined by law.

Gun Enhancement Defenses

Gun enhancement defenses are for individuals charged with offenses aided by the use of guns. A weapons and firearms violation attorney may defend an individual using some of the techniques:

  • Prove that the defendant did not commit the alleged crime. An expert weapons and firearms attorney must provide evidence to ensure the punishment applicable to the offenses is not enhanced.
  • Ask for evidence to be suppressed. In a situation whereby the process of obtaining the evidence violates the rights of the defendant, an attorney may request to suppress such evidence.
  • Provide evidence that the defendant did not have the gun. An attorney must show evidence to ensure the punishment is not enhanced.