Felon with a shotgun for home defense: Texas

I have a question for one of our legal eagles in Texas.

I have an acquaintance, not exactly a friend but an overall good guy. He was sent to prison when he was 16 for doing something stupid. He did his time, got out, and has been a model citizen for over 20 years. All this is just back story and does not negate the fact he is a convicted felon.

His home was broken into recently. The invaders came through a window in his Grand Daughter’s room and tore the place up. The invader threatened everyone with a revolver of indeterminate lineage. Money was stolen, a laptop, cell phones, all at gun point. Before the invader left, through the front door, he said he would be back with friends. Invader is still on the loose. Would have ended differently in my house, but then, I am not a convicted felon.

So, this acquaintance of mine wants to know if he can legally own a shotgun for home defense in Texas. He knows there may be legal hoops to jump through, but he mostly wants information at the moment. He does not want to do anything to send him back to the pen. His crime was not violent. Possession with intent to distribute. He was selling weed in school.

I am of a mind that EVERYONE has the right to defend themselves, even convicted felon. Of course. there are people that should not have access to firearms at all. Felons convicted of violent crimes with a continued history of violence probably should not be allowed to have access to firearms.


That would be a good question for the Sheriffs Dept. in the county he lives.
We do not as far as I know have a Texas attorney who visits regularly.
He can go through the Courts or the Govenor and have his conviction expunged, it will cost time and money.
I would get or borrow one anyway, better than having family raped and or killed in front of you, this sounds like a direct threat.
Would the recent rulings out of SCOTUS have any bearing on this?
Does his wife shoot? It sounds like she could have one as long as it’s locked and he cannot access it.


Generally, felons cannot own or possess firearms under federal law. But there is an exception for owning antique firearms and reproductions (e.g. firearms using percussion caps for ignition). Here’s the ATF’s description …

download (atf.gov)


I personally feel that non violent felons who have done their time should get their rights to self defense restored.

There likely is a process for this in Texas. The best bet would be to hire an attorney with experience in this field to move the process along as quickly as possible.

The issue with that is the process will take time that your acquaintance may not have. I would be leery of purchasing an illegal firearm. If he gets arrested for that then he is no longer in a position to protect his family. If the antique loophole is a legal option in Texas then a black powder revolver or two and maybe a black powder shotgun could be a viable option. Another option would be a legal to posses garden tool like a machete. With a little training and practice they can be a very intimidating and effective tool inside tight quarters.

A loud alarm system also could be an effective deterrent if these thugs would rather not get caught. Moving to another home where these criminals can’t track them down would likely be the safest bet though that would likely be a very expensive and life altering option.


Would something like a bow or a crossbow be permitted?


I can’t watch @BRUCE26 ‘s video at the moment but suspect it brings up a good point. Other members of the household may be able to legally own firearms as long as they are stored in a way that your acquaintance cannot access on his own. Ideally those other individuals could then use the firearm to defend themselves.

I am not a lawyer and not sure of the legalities but I have heard of at least one case where a prior felon used another person’s firearm to defend themselves and they weren’t charged with illegal possession.


As a convicted felon, it is federally illegal to possess a firearm.

Have your friend ask an attorney about restoration of rights. It may or may not be possible at all, certainly not short term, but have him ask his attorney if it’s a viable path to pursue.

Alarm system. Locked and beefed up doors and windows. Dog(s). Exterior lighting. Sabre home defense pepper spray/gel. Marital arts training. Edged weapons? Have him also ask the attorney about non-firearm guns like cap and ball pistols and their legality. Other household members own and possess a firearm that he cannot access?

I am not a lawyer, ultimately, a lawyer is who I recommend this friend ask.


Yeah, but you might end up with both, first you get caught and convicted for felon in possession, then your family just gets raped and killed later and you aren’t even there to help them sans firearm.

Going to prison and not being able to do anything at all isn’t particularly helpful to others


BTW this is another good example to point to when we have that conversation about, does everyone in jail/prison, or everyone convicted of a crime, deserve their punishment?

Some say yes, you broke a law, you got convicted, that by definition means you deserve what you got.

I tend to see a lot of people who, my personal opinion, get convicted of a crime that shouldn’t have been because, just my personal opinion, what they did shouldn’t even be a crime to begin with.

And I’ll also add that my personal opinion is once a person is no longer incarcerated, they should get all of their Rights back. Voting, firearms, whatever…you’re out…you’re out. You get your Rights and civil Liberties back, full stop. JMHO


Tell him to look into a pardon. With 20 years of law abiding behavior, it shouldn’t be crazy hard to get.


Thank you Capt. Obvious. I stated what I would do.

Neither will he be of any use if he dead and or wounded and his Granddaughter is raped in front of him. Choices. Choices. Good, bad or ugly. :thinking:


Thank you, Everyone, for your responses. We have a direction to travel, much along the same lines as I have already advised him to follow.


A guns-shop owner said one of the real surprises in his business was how many ex-felons he had for customers he had to turn away. There are 3 points that aren’t apparently explained to them upon release - they can’t vote - they can’t be hired for a government job - and they can’t own a gun. In some states, they can’t be NEAR or AROUND guns. When Ohio set up their lottery commission, one of the commissioners was found to be a convicted rapist - from 1929. He had tried to let this slip by - but had to immediately resign. A major difference here is the case of Marion Barry. After his six-month sentence, he was ELECTED as a D.C. councilman, and two years later RE-elected as mayor - pretty slick, or a loophole in the law?


Black powder cap pistols/rifles you can buy without a background check in NV


I think he would stand a good chance at having his record expunged. Then, essentially, he would have never been a felon.


According to a Texas lawyer JD Silva

Regardless of your current situation, if you commit certain offenses, you are not eligible to expunge your criminal record. In fact, most offenses that involve children, sexual assault, and violent acts such as criminal assault, are not eligible for record sealing in Texas including but not limited to:

Capital Murder
Indecency with a Child
Aggravated Kidnapping
Aggravated Sexual Assault
Aggravated Robbery
Sexual Assault
Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual
Criminal Solicitation
Some Drug Offenses [see Texas law and Drug Trafficking]
Use of a Child in the Commission of an Offense


I found this website and a possible answer to your question. Since you live in Texas, the answer might not be as cut and dry as we think. But I would like to make plain…I am not an attorney (though I am married to one…it’s an interesting existence :joy:), I do not live in Texas (but I am a neighbor living in Louisiana), and you should talk to someone locally to make sure this info is accurate.


He should talk to a criminal attorney or legal aid in Texas. If he went to jail at 16, it sounds like he was certified as an adult as otherwise he was a juvenile under Texas law. Juveniles are adjudicated delinquent but adults are convicted. So, a candid conversation with an attorney is the way to go.


We’re about to see whether Clause 3 of the 14th Amendment means anything.

"Section 3 Disqualification from Holding Office

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability."