Firearm Smuggling in Texas
Texas has a proud tradition of gun ownership. At the same time, federal and state statutory schemes attempt to protect gun rights while regulation the legal ownership of weapons to make sure they are not smuggled into Mexico and other regions of South America.
The criminal offense of smuggling firearms often involves allegations that a person exported, sold and sent firearms, which were obtained illegally, from the State of Texas or the United States.
Many have criticized this poorly drafted statute for being vague and overly broad. The law was created to target those accused of running a gun smuggling scheme in a manner that facilitated the transportation or sale of the firearms prior to exportation, knowing the guns were intended for exportation from the State of Texas or the United States. The statute is so broadly construed, however, that it can also implicate individuals not involved in a drug smuggling operation.
Lawyer for Firearm Smuggling Crimes in Houston
If you are charged with any firearm smuggling crime under Texas law for an offense that occurred in Harris County or Montgomery County, or a surrounding area of Texas, then contact Horak Law. Matt Horak is an experienced criminal defense attorney with offices in Houston and The Woodlands.
Call (713) 225-8000 today to discuss your case and your best defense.
Texas Penal Code Section 46.14
Texas Penal Code Section 46.14 prohibits smuggling firearms in the State of Texas. The statute provides that a person commits the offense if he or she:
- knowingly engages in the business of transporting or transferring a firearm;
- the person knows the firearm was acquired in violation of the laws of any state or laws of the United States.
For purposes of this subsection, a person is considered to engage in the business of transporting or transferring a firearm if the person engages in that conduct:
- on more than one occasion; or
- for profit or any other form of remuneration.
The criminal offense of smuggling in firearms under § 46.14 is generally charged as a felony in the third degree. If it is also shown beyond all reasonable doubt at trial that the offense was committed with respect to three or more firearms in a single criminal episode, then the criminal offense can be charged as a felony in the second degree.
The statutory scheme also allows law enforcement officers to seize and forfeit assets connected with smuggling firearms.
It is a defense to the charge that a local, state or federal law enforcement officer committed the offense while engaged in the actual discharge of an official duty.
Other Related Firearm Charges
Under Texas Penal Code § 46.14(d), the Texas Legislature expressed its intention that if conduct that constitutes an offense of firearm smuggling also constitutes an offense under any other law, the defendant may be prosecuted for smuggling the firearm under this section or the other law or both laws.
Those related firearm charges can include:
- Section 46.02 – Unlawful Carrying Weapons;
- Section 46.04 – Unlawful Possession of Firearm by Felon; and
- Section 46.06 – Unlawful Transfer of Certain Weapons.
Firearm Smuggling Laws
Gun Smuggling in North America – Information from GunPolicy.org on international firearm injury prevention and policy discussing gun smuggling statutes throughout the United States. This website has a stream of news articles discussing law enforcement officers and their efforts to bust gun smuggling operations through North America. The website cites ATF 2012 report estimating that more than 68,000 of the nearly 100,000 weapons recovered in Mexico and submitted for tracing between 2007 and 2011 originated in the United States.
Horak Law – A Criminal Defense Attorney for Gun Smuggling
If you have been charged with gun smuggling in the greater Houston area, including all of Harris County, Montgomery County or the surrounding areas, then contact Horak Law to discuss ways to mount an aggressive defense against these serious weapon charges. Matt Horak can review your case as soon as you call (713) 225-8000 right now to schedule a consultation.