In Texas, you can be charged with possession of a prohibited weapon if it’s alleged that you exercised care, custody, or control over certain items.  These items include any explosive weapons, machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, silencers, switchblades, brass knuckles, armor-piercing ammo, chemical dispensing devices, or zip guns.  If it’s alleged that you possessed a switchblade or brass knuckles (or “knuckles” of any type, for that matter), you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, for which the penalty range is up to 1 year in the county jail, and up to a $4,000 fine.

  For all other allegations involving possession of a prohibited weapon, the charge is a third degree felony, which carries 2 to 20 years in state prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.  However, the law does provide several defenses to prosecution.  For example, if your possession of the weapon was incidental to the performance of an official duty (e.g., as a police officer, or officer in a county jail or state prison), you cannot be successfully prosecuted for this offense.  Likewise, if you possess a switchblade knife or sawed-off shotgun, solely as an antique or curio, the law also provides you with a defense. Texas Penal Code Section 46.05.


(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells: (1)  an explosive weapon; (2)  a machine gun; (3)  a short-barrel firearm; (4)  a firearm silencer; (5)  a switchblade knife; (6)  knuckles; (7)  armor-piercing ammunition; (8)  a chemical dispensing device; or (9)  a zip gun.

(b)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor’s conduct was incidental to the performance of official duty by the armed forces or national guard, a governmental law enforcement agency, or a correctional facility.

(c)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor’s possession was pursuant to registration pursuant to the National Firearms Act, as amended.

(d)  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor’s conduct: (1)  was incidental to dealing with a switchblade knife, springblade knife, or short-barrel firearm solely as an antique or curio; or (2)  was incidental to dealing with armor-piercing ammunition solely for the purpose of making the ammunition available to an organization, agency, or institution listed in Subsection (b).

(e)  An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree unless it is committed under Subsection (a)(5) or (a)(6), in which event, it is a Class A misdemeanor.

(f)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section for the possession of a chemical dispensing device that the actor is a security officer and has received training on the use of the chemical dispensing device by a training program that is: (1)  provided by the Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education; or (2)  approved for the purposes described by this subsection by the Texas Private Security Board of the Department of Public Safety.

(g)  In Subsection (f), “security officer” means a commissioned security officer as defined by Section 1702.002, Occupations Code, or a noncommissioned security officer registered under Section 1702.221, Occupations Code. Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.

Amended by Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 918, ch. 342, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1975; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 2650, ch. 457, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 4831, ch. 852, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 167, Sec. 5.01(a)(47), eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 229, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Renumbered from Penal Code Sec. 46.06 and amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1071, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. Amended by: Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1035, Sec. 2.01, eff. September 1, 2005. Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1278, Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2005.

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