New Texas law, HB 1819, addresses key components regarding possession of a silencer.
In Texas, it is legal to possess a firearm sound suppressor, or silencer, if you meet the requirements set fourth under Texas law. HB 1819 does nothing to change this. What HB 1819 does do is ready the state for the possible change in federal silencer laws. Texas legislatures are hopeful that changes in federal law will make silencers available for purchase under the same conditions as one would purchase a firearm. HB 1819 prepares state law for this potential change at the federal level.
Currently, the Texas Penal Code requires that silencers are registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (BATF). This is because the federal National Firearm Act requires it. BATF registration is quite an ordeal. There is currently a nine-month approval process and $200 in fees that registration applicants face. However, the federal law referred to as “Hearing Protection Bill,” may change that. The bill would exempt silencers from ATF registration and remove silencers from the requirements of the National Firearm Act. This means that a person, under federal law, would not have to go through the lengthy and expensive BATF registration process.
If the Hearing Protection Bill is passed before the Texas Legislature meets again, people wanting to purchase silencers will not have to register with BATF under federal law, but would still have to register with BATF under Texas law or face a possible felony charge. That is the problem that HB 1819 addresses. If the law passes at the federal level, HB 1819 makes it so Texas would no longer require BATF registration as well.
HB 1819 only allows further ease of access to silencers. Again, note that silencers are currently legal in Texas as long as:
- You are not a convicted felon, not under investigation for family violence, and not diagnosed with a mental illness;
- You register the silencer in the National Firearms Registration; and
- Send a record of silencer purchase to ATF.
As you can see, criminal law can be complex and nuanced. What once was illegal may now be legal. That is why it is critical to consult with knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys such as those at Scott M. Brown & Associates. We track criminal laws and note important changes because they impact the lives of our clients. We use our thorough understanding and extensive experience in criminal law to fight any criminal charge you may face. If you have been charged with a crime in Texas, contact us today by calling (281) 612-8241 or go online.