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Texas DPS won't enforce a handgun restriction for young adults, memo says

Handguns sit in a glass display case in Bridgeton, Mo.
AP Photo
Handguns sit in a glass display case in Bridgeton, Mo.

Under Texas law, most adults under the age of 21 can't own a handgun. But the state's top law enforcement agency will no longer enforce that law after a recent court ruling.

State public safety agents are no longer enforcing a Texas law restricting the possession of handguns for young adults aged 18 to 20, according to an internal memo sent out earlier this month.

The memo, obtained by theDallas Morning News, was sent out Jan. 10 to DPS officers and North Texas prosecutors in Fannin, Grayson and Parker counties. It cites a federal court decision in which a judge ruled unconstitutional.

That case, Andrews v. McCraw, made its way to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, before the state of Texas abruptly dropped its defense of the law in December.

Under the law, adults under 21 could not carry handguns in public unless they had a protective order or were enlisted in the military.

Shannon Edmonds, the director of governmental relations for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, told the Morning News that the change to the penal code only applies to DPS officers.

“It does not apply to any police department, any sheriff’s department, any constable. They all have to make their own decisions on how they’re going to enforce it,” he said.

DPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Born in London, Morning Producer and Podcast Host Katherine Hobbs has lived across the U.S. since 2001. Prior to joining KERA, she produced three podcasts for WJCT Public Media and Florida Public Media and wrote for Jacksonville Magazine, Autism Parenting Magazine and EU Jacksonville, among others. Katherine is thrilled to return to Texas after briefly living in Austin to share the stories that impact our North Texas community. When she’s not working, Katherine can be found admiring public libraries and visiting penguin colonies around the world.