Texas Gun Owner Responsibility Laws Require Protections for Children

Guns 2nd Amendment

Texas is often celebrated as one of the most Second Amendment-friendly states, with gun laws in Texas allowing concealed carry and open carry. Still, Texas gun owner responsibility laws require you to take reasonable steps to keep guns out of the hands of children under 17 years of age.

In response to the Sante Fe school shooting, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning on “This Week,” that “It’s not about the guns, it’s about us,” going on to say, “Gun control, I believe, starts at home, every person who owns a gun must be accountable for the guns at home.”

Under Texas law, if a child under 17 years of age gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm (i.e., loaded with ammunition, whether or not a round is in the chamber), a person is criminally liable if he or she “with criminal negligence:”

  • Failed to secure the firearm (i.e., to take steps a reasonable person would take to prevent the access to a readily dischargeable firearm by a child, including but not limited to placing a firearm in a locked container or temporarily rendering the firearm inoperable by a trigger lock or other means); or
  • Left the firearm in a place to which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access.

Texas gun owner responsibility laws hold you criminally liable if a child uses your gun and wounds or kills someone.

If you have firearms in your home, the NRA has a list of best practices to keep your guns out of the hands of children or other adults who may use them without your permission:

1. Trigger locks
2. Gun cases
3. Strongboxes and security cases
4. Locking steel gun cabinets
5. Gun safes

An offense under Section 46.13 is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas if the child discharges the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury to himself or another person. A conviction on a Class A misdemeanor offense will carry a punishment of up to a year in a county jail and a fine of up to $4,000. In most cases, a bail bond will secure your release from jail while you await trial. Click here to learn more about how McRae Bail Bonds can help you secure a bail bond.