Making a Firearm Accessible to a Child
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Making a Firearm Accessible to a Child

Posted On - March 13th, 2012 | By Tim Clancy | Category - Criminal Defense

It can be your worst nightmare to have a child accidentally get their hands on a firearm. You may be stunned, however, to find yourself facing criminal charges in such a situation. The Texas legislature has set forth specific instances where an adult may face criminal penalties for making a firearm accessible to a child. This blog post provides an overview of the law, as well as the defenses you can raise if you face prosecution. Regardless, when you have been charged with a crime, you want an experienced lawyer to protect your constitutional rights.

At The Law Office of Kevin Clancy & The Law Office of Tim Clancy, in Dallas, our partners have nearly 50 years of combined criminal law experience, representing individuals across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Attorney Kevin Clancy, a former prosecutor, knows the strategies the state employs when investigating and arguing a criminal case. We will work closely with you to take all available preemptive measures to minimize the consequences of an arrest, and obtain acquittal or dismissal of the charges.

The Provisions of the Law

In Texas, it is a violation of law when you allow a child to gain access to a readily dischargeable firearm because of your negligence. The statute defines criminal negligence to include:

  • A failure to properly secure or lock up the firearm
  • Leaving the firearm in a location that you knew or should have known the child would have access

Under the law, a child includes any person younger than 17. “Readily dischargeable” simply means that the gun be loaded, though there need not be a round in the chamber. The law requires that the person owning or possessing the firearm take reasonable steps to prevent access by children, such as locking the gun in a cabinet or container, or rendering the firearm inoperable, either through removal of the firing pin, the use of a trigger lock, or other means.

If the child actually discharges the firearm and causes serious injury or death, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. In all other circumstances, you will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor.

Your Defenses to a Charge of Making a Firearm Accessible to a Child

In defense, you may argue that:

  • The child was supervised by anyone over the age of 18, and was being used for hunting, sporting or other lawful purposes
  • The child was using the weapon to lawfully defend himself or herself
  • The child gained access to your property in violation of the law

Contact Our Office

For a confidential consultation with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, contact us online at or call (214) 550-5771.

Attorney Kevin Clancy is AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system.