If you’ve been following the Texas Legislature this session, you know that there are some new gun laws passed which, generally speaking, make it easier for people to have guns in Texas. That includes a new permitless carry law which allows Texans to carry handguns without a license or training starting Sept. 1.
As the Texas Tribune reported, “House Bill 1927 eliminates the requirement for Texas residents to obtain a license to carry handguns if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun.” The article went on to clarify:
The Senate tacked on several amendments to address concerns by law enforcement groups that opposed permitless carry, worried it would endanger officers and make it easier for criminals to get guns.
The compromise lawmakers reached behind closed doors kept intact a number of changes the Senate made to the House bill, including striking a provision that would have barred officers from questioning people based only on their possession of a handgun.
The deal also preserves a Senate amendment enhancing the criminal penalties for felons and family violence offenders caught carrying. Among other Senate changes that made it into the law was a requirement that the Texas Department of Public Safety offer a free online course on gun safety.
So what does this mean for Texans concerned about an ex or soon-to-be-ex with guns? The good thing is it doesn’t overturn rules about who can’t have guns because of domestic violence convictions. However, if the person you’re concerned about hasn’t yet broken laws, the new legislation can make it easier for that person to have a firearm around you and your kids.
If you’re in a case involving domestic violence, in which your spouse or ex has been arrested on charges, generally their bond conditions in the criminal matter will apply to that person while awaiting trial, and those will most certainly include provisions preventing that person from carrying firearms under any circumstances.
If it’s a divorce case you’re in, temporary orders can protect you and your kids even if you’re not concerned about domestic violence — but, rather, just safety issues regarding guns. While there is a standard list of items in temporary orders meant to keep people cordial and safe during the divorce process, you can also specify additional provisions, like making sure your spouse has all firearms locked away during that spouse’s parenting time or during exchanges in which kids are going from one parent’s supervision to the other’s.
If temporary orders are violated, the party violating those can be held in contempt of court, can be made to pay fines for those violations, and could have that bad behavior work to his or her disadvantage when the divorce case gets heard before a judge. However, it often falls to the concerned party and his or her legal team to raise concerns and to file a motion for enforcement of the gun safety provisions in order to move things forward.
If you’re concerned about a spouse or an ex with guns, and the new legislation makes you more concerned than you were previously, the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance will be able to help you determine what steps you can take legally to protect yourself, as well as what else you might be able to do outside of legal remedies. While the current round of laws passed are likely to bring more guns into public spaces throughout the state, you can still take steps to make sure that you and your kids are safe.