Can A Felon Own An Air Rifle In Texas?

In Texas, it’s common to see air rifles used for pest control, target practice, and teaching gun safety. But can someone with a felony conviction legally own an air rifle? Laws surrounding firearm possession for felons can be complex.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: In many cases, Texas felons are prohibited from owning air rifles. However, there are exceptions for antique air guns and other non-lethal airsoft guns.

This comprehensive guide will examine Texas air gun laws, restrictions for felons, differences between various air gun types, and safety considerations around their operation.

Texas Laws on Air Gun Possession

Definition of a ‘Firearm’

In Texas, the definition of a “firearm” does not typically include air guns or air rifles. According to the Texas Penal Code, a firearm is defined as a device designed to expel a projectile through the barrel using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance.

Since air guns do not rely on an explosion or burning substance to propel projectiles, they are not classified as firearms under Texas law.

However, it’s important to note that while air guns may not be considered firearms, they are still subject to certain regulations and restrictions in Texas.

Age Restrictions for Minors

Even though air guns are not classified as firearms in Texas, there are still age restrictions for minors when it comes to possessing and using them. According to Texas law, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess an air gun, unless they are under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian, or someone with the consent of the parent or guardian.

This means that a felon, regardless of their age, would still be subject to these age restrictions and would not be able to legally own or possess an air rifle in Texas.

It’s important for individuals to familiarize themselves with the specific laws and regulations in their state regarding air gun possession, as they can vary from state to state. For further information, you can visit the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety (

Federal Prohibitions on Firearm Possession

When it comes to firearm possession, felons face strict regulations and prohibitions at both the federal and state levels. In the United States, federal law prohibits felons from owning or possessing firearms.

This includes not only traditional firearms such as handguns and rifles, but also extends to certain types of air rifles.

Banned for All Felons

Under federal law, all felons are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, regardless of the type. This means that even air rifles, which are often considered less lethal than traditional firearms, are off-limits for individuals with a felony conviction.

The rationale behind this prohibition is to prevent individuals with a history of criminal activity from having access to any type of weapon that could potentially be used to harm others.

It is important to note that federal law takes precedence over state laws in this matter. This means that even if state laws in Texas may allow certain felons to own or possess firearms, the federal prohibition still applies.

Exceptions for Antique Guns

While felons are generally banned from owning or possessing firearms, there are certain exceptions to this rule. One such exception applies to antique guns, which are classified as firearms manufactured before 1898 or replicas thereof.

According to federal law, felons are allowed to possess and collect these antique firearms, as they are considered more of a historical artifact rather than a modern weapon.

However, it is important to research and understand the specific regulations and requirements surrounding antique firearms, as there may still be limitations and restrictions imposed by state laws. Additionally, felons who qualify for this exception must ensure that they comply with all applicable laws and regulations governing the possession and storage of these firearms.

For more information on federal firearms laws and regulations, you can visit the official website of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) at

Differences Between Air Rifles and Airsoft Guns

When it comes to firearms regulations, it’s important to understand the distinctions between different types of guns. In the case of felons in Texas, the ownership of air rifles and airsoft guns is a pertinent topic.

While air rifles and airsoft guns may seem similar at first glance, there are some key differences to consider.

Air Rifles Use Metallic Pellets

One of the main differences between air rifles and airsoft guns is the type of ammunition they use. Air rifles utilize metallic pellets, typically made of lead or other metals. These pellets are propelled by compressed air or gas, resulting in a powerful shot.

Due to the nature of metallic projectiles, air rifles are considered more lethal than airsoft guns. This is an important factor to consider when discussing the ownership of air rifles by felons in Texas.

Airsoft Guns Use Plastic BBs

On the other hand, airsoft guns use plastic BBs as their ammunition. These BBs are typically made of biodegradable materials and are much less harmful than metallic pellets. Airsoft guns are designed to mimic real firearms and are often used in recreational activities such as skirmishes and target shooting.

While airsoft guns can still cause injury if used improperly, they are generally considered less dangerous than air rifles.

It’s worth noting that the regulations surrounding the ownership of air rifles and airsoft guns may vary from state to state. In Texas, for example, felons are generally prohibited from owning firearms, including air rifles.

The possession of a firearm by a felon is considered a serious offense and can result in legal consequences.

For more information on firearms regulations in Texas, you can visit the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety: It’s always important to consult and adhere to the laws and regulations of your specific jurisdiction to ensure compliance and avoid legal issues.

Safe and Legal Usage of Air Guns

Following All Applicable Laws

When it comes to owning and using air guns, it is important to always adhere to the laws and regulations set forth by your state. In the case of Texas, there are specific rules regarding the ownership of air rifles by felons.

According to Texas law, felons are prohibited from possessing firearms, including air rifles, unless their rights have been restored through a pardon or expungement of their record.

It is crucial to understand that air guns, although they may not be classified as firearms, are still subject to certain legal restrictions. In Texas, anyone under the age of 18 must have parental supervision while using an air gun, and it is illegal to discharge an air gun within city limits or in a reckless manner that endangers others.

Violating these laws can result in fines or even criminal charges.

For more detailed information on the specific laws and regulations regarding air guns in Texas, it is recommended to consult the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Exercising Caution When Shooting

While air guns may be considered less dangerous than traditional firearms, it is still essential to exercise caution and follow proper safety protocols when handling and shooting them. Treat an air gun with the same respect and care you would give to any other weapon, as they have the potential to cause serious injury if not used responsibly.

Always ensure that you are using the appropriate ammunition for your air gun and that it is in good working condition. Before shooting, carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for loading, aiming, and firing the air gun.

Remember to never point the air gun at any person or animal unless you intend to shoot, and always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

Additionally, it is crucial to have a safe shooting environment. Choose a suitable location for shooting that is away from residential areas and other potential hazards. Consider using a backstop or target trap to prevent stray pellets from causing damage or injury.

Regularly inspect your shooting area for any obstructions or potential dangers that could affect your safety or the safety of others.

By following all applicable laws and exercising caution when shooting, you can ensure safe and responsible usage of air guns in Texas.

Seeking Legal Guidance on Firearm Restrictions

For individuals with a felony conviction, understanding the restrictions on firearm ownership is crucial. In the state of Texas, owning a firearm as a felon is generally prohibited. However, when it comes to air rifles, the situation is slightly different.

To navigate through the complexities of firearm restrictions, seeking legal guidance is highly recommended.

Consulting Local Attorneys

When it comes to legal matters, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is always a wise decision. In the case of felons wanting to own an air rifle in Texas, seeking guidance from local attorneys who specialize in firearms and criminal law can provide valuable insights.

These attorneys can assess the specific circumstances surrounding the felony conviction and advise on the legality of owning an air rifle.

Local attorneys can also help individuals understand any potential loopholes or exceptions that may exist in Texas law. They can explain the finer details of the law and guide felons through the legal process, ensuring compliance and minimizing the risk of further legal complications.

Contacting Parole Officers

Another avenue for seeking guidance on firearm restrictions is through contacting parole officers. Felons who are currently on parole must abide by certain conditions, which may include restrictions on firearm ownership.

Parole officers are well-versed in the legal requirements and can provide clarity on whether owning an air rifle is permissible in specific cases.

It is important to note that parole conditions can vary depending on the individual and the nature of their conviction. Parole officers can provide personalized advice tailored to the specific circumstances of each person’s case.

When reaching out to parole officers or local attorneys, it is essential to approach the conversation with honesty and transparency. This will enable them to provide the most accurate and relevant guidance based on the individual’s unique situation.

Additionally, it is worth mentioning that firearm laws can change over time, and it is important to stay informed about any updates or amendments to the law. Regularly checking the official Texas Department of Public Safety website and consulting with legal professionals can help individuals stay up-to-date with the latest regulations.

Remember, seeking legal guidance is crucial when navigating the complexities of firearm restrictions for felons. By consulting with local attorneys and contacting parole officers, individuals can gain a better understanding of the legality of owning an air rifle in Texas and ensure compliance with the law.


In summary, Texas felons face significant restrictions on air rifle possession, with few exceptions. Seeking competent legal advice is essential to understanding all federal, state, and local laws applicable to anyone with a prior felony conviction looking to use air guns.

Similar Posts