Texas Exemptions

| Aug 31, 2010 | Bankruptcy |

In a West Texas case named In re Wilkinson the debtors claimed as exempt six guns under Section 42.002(a)(8) (sporting guns), and 17 antique guns and one “dummy gun” under Section 42.002(a)(1) (household furnishings).  The trustee objected, asserting that the debtors may exempt only two firearms under (a)(7).  

The debtors amended the exemptions to include seven of the antique guns, two under (a)(7), and the remainder under (a)(1).  The debtors argued that the antique guns were manufactured before 1899, were each affixed to a bronze plate, and should not be considered as firearms, relying on the definitions in Section 46.01 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes possession of a firearm by felons.
The court held that the Penal Code was not to be read in pari materia with the Texas Property Code, because the two statutes do not have a similar purpose.   The court, after consulting the Black’s Law Dictionary and the Webster’s Dictionary definitions of “firearm,” determined that the antique guns were firearms within the meaning of the Texas Property Code.