Is Owning Automatic Weapons Illegal in Texas?

Texas has some of the least restrictive gun laws and regulations in the country. However, there are certain limitations to be aware of as you consider your options with firearms. One example is automatic weapons. While you generally can’t purchase automatic weapons in Texas, there are some more specific guidelines that apply to owning firearms of this nature. Here’s what you need to know, brought to you by the firearms education professionals from Online Texas LTC, the experts who provide the highest-quality Texas CHL class you can find.

Texas Has Restrictions on Automatic Weapons & Similar Items

According to, Texas prohibits the possession, manufacture, transport, repair, and sale of what are often referred to as “machine guns,” a term often used to describe automatic weapons in general. This is why restrictions applied to machine guns are typically considered applicable to any automatic weapon. 

Additionally, there are some federal restrictions on certain automatic weapons. One example is a true AK-47, which is considered automatic because it has an automatic setting. This type of automatic weapon is illegal everywhere in the United States, including Texas. However, AK-47 models with semi-automatic settings are legal in Texas. 

Additional firearms and related accessories banned in the Lone Star State include:

• Explosive weapons
• Short-barrel guns
• Armor-piercing ammo

Bump stocks are a related accessory also banned in all states. A bump stock is essentially a device that allows a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster, similar to what’s possible with an automatic weapon. Initially, a federal ban was issued in 2018, although it has since been challenged in several court cases. However, as of 2022, bump stocks remain illegal to use and purchase throughout the United States.

It Also Depends on When the Weapon Was Made

There’s one exception that can allow you to own an automatic weapon in Texas: it has to be registered per federal law. Specifically, the automatic weapon must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, or ATF.

The main restriction with regard to possessing a registered automatic weapon is when it was manufactured. The ATF prohibits the possession or ownership of any machine guns made after May 1986. For instance, if you own an older automatic weapon of this nature and it was made prior to this time, you would be able to legally own it as long as it’s registered. On the other hand, if you wish to legally purchase a newer fully automatic weapon, you wouldn’t be able to do so.

Err on the Side of Caution & See What Applies in Your Situation

Illegal firearm possession in Texas can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances involved. For this reason, it’s a good idea to check what may apply if you have an automatic weapon already in your possession. This applies to any firearm when you’re not fully sure of what’s legal and permitted. Taking a license to carry Texas class is a convenient way to become a more informed gun owner and user. 

It’s essential for gun owners to be thoroughly familiar with basic gun safety practices and the laws that govern firearms in their jurisdictions. If you have questions about firearms safety or the local gun laws in your area, reach out to knowledgeable professionals for guidance. When they need information on firearms safety, training, or LTC 101 online classes, gun owners trust the expertise of the pros from Online Texas LTC. If you have questions about any aspect of gun ownership in Texas, give us a call today at 512-675-2206.

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