The term 'dishonorable discharge' does not include the separation of the Armed Forces as a result of any other leave. According to article 922 (g) of the Gun Control Act (GCA), it is illegal for people who have been discharged from the Armed Forces in dishonourable conditions to receive or possess firearms. Federal law prohibits anyone who has been “discharged” from the Armed Forces in dishonourable conditions from owning a weapon. It is important to note that this does not mean you must have an impeccable military record.
A disgraceful discharge is the result of a conviction handed down by a general court-martial for serious crimes, such as desertion, sexual assault, or murder. The difference between federal and state laws when it comes to criminal possession of weapons can cause some confusion. Under federal law, all convicted felons are permanently prohibited from possessing firearms. People convicted of a felony cannot open, carry a weapon, or apply for a concealed carry permit because it would violate state law.
If you're facing a felony charge in Texas, it's essential to understand that one of the consequences of a conviction is the loss of your gun ownership rights for at least five years. This means that all possession of weapons is subject to federal regulations that, in some cases, may conflict with Texas state law. But does this mean that you can never own a gun if you are a criminal? Texas has unique laws regarding the possession of weapons by criminals. A criminal convicted by a state court can only regain their gun rights under federal law if civil rights have been fully restored at the state level.
When someone who should not be able to buy a gun tries to acquire it in that country, FBI examiners have only three grueling days to complete a background check, based on fragmented and incomplete federal and local records. Under federal law, a person cannot buy or own a gun if they have been “convicted” in court of a crime punishable by a prison sentence greater than one year. However, an estimated 78% of gun owners undergo a background check, so it's important to prevent dishonourably discharged personnel from buying weapons through dealers. The FBI data does not break down other types of military dismissals among the civilian population that could legally prevent someone from possessing a weapon.
In many states, people can buy a gun from a neighbor, acquaintance, or local dealer without having to undergo a background check. However, if you have been convicted of a felony and are considering owning a firearm in Texas five years after serving your sentence, you should know federal laws and carefully weigh whether the risks of a possible federal charge are worth it in your situation. While most misdemeanor convictions, including first-time drunk driving offenses in Texas, won't automatically stop you from owning a firearm.