However, a bankruptcy attorney would do a standard asset analysis and ask the following questions. What can you do? Guns in bankruptcy are, to some degree, a hassle as they have some value and are typically not protected from seizure in bankruptcy. Get yourself a good attorney to navigate the hurdles for you. Here are the states that have specific gun exemptions. At present, the federal exemptions do not have a specific gun exemption [ Pettit, C.
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The Washington bankruptcy exemptions help you protect your property in bankruptcy. Get the details.
What Happens to Guns In Bankruptcy? Does the debtor own the guns? That usually goes without saying, but sometimes there is shared ownership. What is the gun worth? The main challenge with guns in bankruptcy is that they hold value. If the guns are functional they have more than a token value. In addition, most gun owners own more than one gun.
Is there a lien against the gun? Liens on guns are rare unless they have been pawned, but you still need to ask and confirm. Is there an exemption to protect the gun or equity value of the gun? Guns and exemptions are where the challenge arises. Only 13 states have an exemption that specifically mentions or exempts firearms see the list below. Of those 13 states, some limit the exemption to only one gun.
Mixon, F. Firearm does not include a firearm that may have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other characteristics of weapons made illegal by this chapter and that is:. B a replica of an antique or curio firearm manufactured before , but only if the replica does not use rim fire or center fire ammunition. FN5 Similarly, the Wilkinsons refer the court to the definition of firearm in the Gun Control Act, which specifically excludes antique firearms. See 18 U. The court notes that the Gun Control Act is irrelevant to the issue before it which deals exclusively with Texas law, to wit, the definition of firearm in the Texas Property Code.
One provision of the Government Code addresses the appropriate application and use of the doctrine of in pari materia. The Texas Government Code provides.
Can The Court Take Your Guns in Wilmington Bankruptcy?
The first step in employing the doctrine is to determine whether different statutory provisions even conflict. Only if a conflict exists is the court then obligated to proceed to the second step, that is, to harmonize the two so as to give effect to both.
If the Texas Property Code and the Texas Penal Code do not have a similar object or purpose, then the doctrine of in pari materia is not applicable at all. The most important factor in our in pari materia analysis is similarity of object or purpose.
Michigan Legislature - Section
To determine whether two statutes share a common purpose, we consider whether the two statutes 1 are contained in the same legislative act; 2 require the same elements of proof; 3 involve different penalties; and 4 were clearly written to achieve the same objective. The adventitious occurrence of like or similar phrases, or even of similar subject matter, in laws enacted for wholly different ends will not justify applying the doctrine.
In re J. State, 28 S. State, S. Dallas , no pet. See In re Mitchell, B. Firearms happen to be one of a number of specifically described items or categories of property deemed to be appropriate for debtors in this state to have, free of the demands of their creditors. See id. The Penal Code, meanwhile criminalizes ownership of certain types of firearms by certain kinds of individuals in Texas, to wit, convicted felons, in the interests of protecting the peace and safety of the rest of the citizenry of Texas.
See Boyd v.
One statute regulates commercial activity. One is a health and safety regulation. If one is a felon and keeps or acquires a firearm, the penalty exacted can be a fine and loss of liberty. Compare Acts , 63rd Leg. See TEX. Some exemptions are preserved primarily because they truly are necessary to the very survival of the family as an independent economic unit not on the public dole. Others, such as jewelry, are allowed not so much to assure mere survival as to assure survival with a modicum of dignity … For the purpose of protecting debtors from destitution, or their families from deprivation of support, or the public from the danger of their becoming charges, the constitution provides that the legislature shall have the duty of enacting statutes which stipulate that certain personal property of debtors shall not be liable to seizure and sale under legal process for the payment of their debts….
The purpose underlying exemption legislation is securing to the unfortunate debtor the means to support himself and his family, the protection of the family being the main consideration.
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Leva, 96 B. Thus, whether a convicted felon may carry an antique firearm-apparently deemed by the legislature not to be a threat to public safety due to its age-does not have much to do at all with whether a creditor may reach that same antique gun for purposes of getting repaid. FN12 It is certainly not a threat to public safety for a debtor to repay his debts by the sale of an antique gun. In fact, an antique handgun may be worth more than a new one, and therefore of particular interest to a creditor or a bankruptcy trustee. Thus, the prerequisite for recourse to the doctrine of in pari materia is never met in this case.
It is not only unnecessary but affirmatively inappropriate for the court to consult a definition in another statute whose object and purpose is in no way similar in order to arrive at the interpretation of the same term used in the Texas Property Code.
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As the court of appeals in J. When interpreting statutes we try to give effect to legislative intent. Further, if a statute is unambiguous, rules of construction or other extrinsic aids cannot be used to create ambiguity.
Fitzgerald v. Advanced Spine Fixation Systems, Inc. If the language of a statute is ambiguous, to interpret the statute the court is aided by the following. Lastly, the Texas Government Code also instructs that courts should give meaning to all of the words in a statute. An instrument used in the propulsion of shot, shell, or bullets by the action of gunpowder exploded within it.
A weapon which acts by force of gunpowder. This word comprises all sorts of guns, fowling-pieces, blunderbusses, pistols, etc. Notably, none of these definitions excludes antique firearms or guns from the definition of what constitutes a firearm. None of these definitions requires that the item be in working order to constitute a firearm.
The definitions are all-encompassing. In that regard, common usage gives a word meaning when it can be said that one person using a given word will be easily understood to mean the same thing as the user intended the word to convey. In ordinary usage, the fact that a firearm or gun is antique would not preclude one from referring to it as a firearm. Under both common usage and the dictionary definitions which are, in essence, scholarly reports of common usage , an 18th century Blunderbuss is still a firearm. Even if the term were thought to be ambiguous, however, the court would still arrive at the same conclusion regarding its intended scope in the Texas Property Code.
Acts , 12th Leg. In Choate v. Redding, 18 Tex. See generally, 18 Tex. The court colorfully explained its frustration thusly:.
The Act of provided that the following items were exempt. It has been comparatively but a few years since the first settlements of Americans were made in Texas.