The Unintended Side-Effects of the new Texas “Constitutional Carry” Law

Happy Friday, everybody. You know, I’m starting to get a little self-conscious about that opening because now my paralegal and my wife both make fun of me for it, but you know what, it’s fine. We’re going to keep going.

This week I wanted to talk about something that is taking over the news cycle, at least here in Texas, and that is the bill that is set to be passed into law here very shortly when signed by Governor Abbott. It’s widely known as constitutional carry. So what this bill really does is it eliminates the requirement for a license to be able to carry a weapon on your person, okay? So normally before the passage of this bill, if you wanted to carry a weapon, you had to apply for what’s called a LTC or a License to Carry, or a CCL, a Concealed Carry License. You had to undergo a background check and there were certain requirements that had to be met. You had to take a written exam, a proficiency exam, and if you passed all of those things, then you were given your license to carry. So the constitutional carry law that is set to be signed by Governor Abbott, it does away with all that. So there will no longer be any requirements for a Texan to have a license to carry a firearm on his or her person.

So that is fairly self-explanatory, right? It’s fairly straightforward, what this bill is designed to do. However, when this bill gets passed, there are going to be certain side effects that may or may not be very widely discussed. So part of what I’d like to do once this bill is passed, once I’ve dug more into it and seeing the way this is going to play out in the courts, is do a few videos on some of these side effects. And so that’s what today’s is, it’s the first one of those.

One of those side effects that I have noticed, that I don’t think was very well contemplated, is it makes convictions for UCW, which was a misdemeanor in Texas, the unlawful carrying of a weapon, it makes certain of those convictions, unconstitutional convictions. Because it used to be, if you were convicted of UCW under subsection A of that specific penal code statute, I believe it’s 4602 and I’ll check and link it down below, so you can look it up.

But the subsection A of that statute basically said, if you were carrying a firearm without a license, you could be charged and convicted of this misdemeanor. Well, under the new law, that’s no longer a criminal offense. And so based on my interpretation and based on the way I’m reading the law and the way that the case law works is, now that that is no longer a conviction, it is my belief that you would be entitled to an expunction of that conviction that you have on your record. So if you’re somebody that has been convicted of UCW, unlawful carrying of a weapon, then it’s worth a shot, no pun intended. It’s worth calling me and talking to me about it because it might be something that we can get cleared off of your criminal history, if you were charged and convicted of that specific subsection.

So again, there’s going to be a lot of digging and research and fact finding that we’ll have to do to determine if it is something that you’re eligible for. But it’s one of those things that I think is worth looking into, because anytime you can remove a criminal conviction off of your record is, generally speaking, a good thing, in my opinion. So if you or somebody that you know has ever been convicted of UCW, please give me a call and we can talk about how this new constitutional carry may or may not affect you.

In my opinion, it’s worth getting this done sooner rather than later, because who knows what the future holds. If this constitutional carry law eventually gets overturned, or a new legislation comes in that creates a new law that puts limitations on it, at that point, the answer may not be the same. You may not be eligible for an expunction. And so you may have a very finite window in which you can get this record expunged. So I wouldn’t wait. I wouldn’t procrastinate on it. If you have a conviction in your history for UCW here in Texas, give me a call. We can take a look at it and see if there’s anything we can do to help there.

Again, I’ll try to be revisiting this issue, every once in a while, because I do think there are going to be some of these side effects of this law that aren’t necessarily readily apparent to most folks. As those come to the surface, I’ll try to do some videos and talk about them. But as always, if you have any questions about constitutional carry, what it means, LTCs, what happens with those, feel free to give me a call. I’m happy to answer whatever questions I can and we’ll go from there. I hope you all have a great week, good weekend, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Author Bio

James P. Whalen

James P. Whalen is the managing attorney and founder of Whalen Law Office, a Texas criminal defense firm offering personalized legal representation for various federal criminal charges. With a commitment to providing comfort and guidance during challenging times, Mr. Whalen serves as both an attorney and counselor to his clients, helping them navigate their cases while striving to restore normalcy to their lives.

In an inherently unbalanced criminal justice system, Mr. Whalen takes on cases with unwavering dedication. With decades of legal experience, he offers representation across various criminal charges, including white-collar crimes, violent crimes, drug charges, and more. Mr. Whalen’s numerous accolades, including Super Lawyer recognition and board certification in Criminal Appellate Law and Criminal Law, reflect his unwavering commitment to ethical and high-quality legal representation.

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