Right To Bear Arms? Weapons That Aren’t Legal In Texas
The Second Amendment of the United States' Constitution is one of the most hotly debated of any legal documents in the world. If you've never actually read the text as it's written, here's the black and white of what it says:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
That's it. That's the whole thing. Ratified in 1791, the legal debates over what those words mean have been bounced through numerous courts, and have even found their way in front of the United States Supreme Court.
While the court avoided direct Second Amendment cases for over 200 years, it still helped shaped the view and application of the amendment through various rulings. Including limiting the type of guns that people can own. In United States vs. Miller the Supreme Court said that shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long can be outlawed. Their application of the Second Amendment said:
"...that a shotgun having a barrel less than 18 inches long has today any reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, and therefore cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees to the citizen the right to keep and bear such a weapon."
This represented to parts of the initial writing of the amendment: "militia" and "well regulated". It established that governments can take particular measures against certain weapons, while not outlawing all weapons. This ruling helped shape various laws after, including Ronald Reagan's 1967 Mulford Act, which banned carrying firearms in public in California. Reagan would continue to use the Supreme Court ruling in United States vs. Miller after he became President of the United States. Reagan joined fellow Republican Gerald Ford in pushing for the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was essentially protected by the Supreme Court's previous decision.
However, by 2008, much of the settled understanding of the applications of the Second Amendment were pulled apart. The Supreme Court once again ruled on the Second Amendment in District of Columbia vs. Heller, which established some firm guidance, while creating some new questions. The biggest takeaway from the 2008 ruling was the endorsement of the “individual-right” theory of the Second Amendment. However, as Britannica writes:
"the Supreme Court unanimously held that a federal law requiring the registration of sawed-off shotguns did not violate the Second Amendment because such weapons did not have a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”
That means that even though the Court codified an individuals right to own a firearm, it unanimously certified that restrictions on the TYPE of firearm a person can own is legal. For example, a GUN ban is illegal, but an Assault Weapons ban is legal in the eyes of the Supreme Court. So at this point, a state can take steps to ban particular firearms.
Which is actually something that exists in Texas.
One of the states that is generally considered to be a pro-gun state actually has a ton of firearms laws. There's a pretty big list of firearms that you can't own in the state. Which, as we've already covered, is legal for the state to ban those guns. Check out this list of illegal weapons in Texas, according to TxCrimeDefense: