July 31, 2015

In Texas, Better Protection for Class 3 Devices Is Coming

The amended language of the statute makes clear that possession of these devices is legal if the class 3 device is registered with BATFE, and removes the “defense to prosecution” language.

In about a month, gun owners in Texas and visitors to the state will feel the positive effects of SB 473, a bill which Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott signed into law that extends protections for Class 3 devices, such as short-barreled rifles (SBRs), suppressors, and “any other weapons,” as defined by the National Firearms Act. SB 473 will take effect on Sept. 1, 2015.

U.S. Law Shield and Texas Law Shield President Kirk Evans said that while Texans who own NFA items are the biggest beneficiaries of the pending changes, he noted that gun owners from other states likewise will enjoy better legal protections if they want to bring their Class 3 items — such as suppressors — into the state to hunt.

Evans said, “Formerly, it was a ‘defense to prosecution’ if a person was charged with possession of NFA items, such as a silencer, and the item was properly registered pursuant to the National Firearms Act. Unfortunately, owners of such weapons under the old law could be forced deeply into the legal process before they were able to establish legal ownership of certain items under Texas law.”

Photo courtesy of Grizzly Custom.

Coming Sept. 1 in Texas, a new law will take effect that makes it easier to prove legal ownership of short-barreled rifles — such as this Backpacker Scout Marlin Package Lever Action SBR made by Grizzly Custom —and other Class 3 devices without having to go to court.

Evans said the amended language of the statute makes clear that possession of these devices is legal if the class 3 device is registered with BATFE, and removes the “defense to prosecution” language. Come Sept. 1 then, hunters who want to use suppressors in the state can simply show the appropriate BATFE paperwork for the device and not have to go to court to assert the “defense to prosecution” exception — a vast savings of time and trouble for shooters who legally own their Class 3 devices.

Specifically, Sections 46.05(a) and (e), are amended to read that: A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells those items listed above “unless the item is registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or classified as a curio or relic by the United States Department of Justice.”