Updated on March 14, 2013
A large number of bills are currently working their way through various committees and both chambers of the Texas legislature. I want to take a moment to let you know about some that I think are important to pay attention to. You can click on the bill numbers to see the text for yourself. I will only provide a brief summary and present my opinions on the bill. I urge you to contact your representatives with your opinions about these bills.
Before I begin, I think it’s important that readers understand my thoughts on the 2nd Amendment and any laws that govern or regulate them. I believe that the second amendment recognizes an infallible right to keep and bear arms. The Constitution itself is all that is needed to recognize our rights to keep and bear arms. I do not believe that any law is needed for Americans to carry firearms, concealed or not. But, I also understand the reality of our political climate that necessitates these laws. In spite of my beliefs that no one should be required to obtain a license to carry a firearm, I have surrendered to the reality just to keep myself out of jail.
S.B. 1025 – Currently, concealed handgun license holders are not allowed to carry a concealed firearm into a public meeting if there is a 30.06-specific sign posted on the premises. If there is no sign, CHL holders may carry concealed to these meetings. I always carry anywhere I go, including my city council meetings since there is no such prohibition. This bill, if passed, will ban CHL holders from defending themselves at public meetings regardless of whether or not there is a sign posted. Sen. Kel Seliger (District 31) is the anti-gun author of this bill. I should be voted down. No place should be a personal defense-free zone in our state.
S.B. 164 – This bill only authorizes a change to the current CHL itself to include a “Veteran” designation on the license. Current law does not allow for any additional designations. This bill, submitted by Senator Leticia Van de Putte, would allow veterans to have their status added to their CHL for whatever reason. There are no additional benefits that come with the designation. Personally, I’m suspicious of this bill. It’s being submitted by a Democrat and I know how much Democrats love to take away weapons. Providing quick recognition of veterans in possession of a CHL through this law would make it easier to withdraw those licenses from all the crazy, PTSD-prone veterans! I’m against this bill.
S.B. 299 – This bill clarifies the unintentional display of a concealed handgun. Currently, the law states it’s a crime if you “fail to conceal the handgun.” This bill changes those five words to avoid any potential police overreaching by clarifying that it is an offense if a CHL holder “displays the handgun in plain view of another person in a public place in a manner calculated to cause alarm and not pursuant to a justified use of force or threat of force.” While I’m an open-carry proponent and think it shouldn’t be against the law to show a gun anyway, I’m still in favor of this bill. It tells police officers exactly what must happen to be charged with an offense under this statute. It was filed by Senator Craig Estes (District 30).
S.B. 858 – In order to qualify for a CHL in Texas, we are required to complete a 10-hour handgun proficiency course. This bill, submitted by Senator Bob Deuell (District 2) reduces that requirement to just four hours. This is important because spending ten hours sitting in a chair listening to PowerPoint presentations about stuff that is completely irrelevant gets tedious. Frankly, I reject the entire requirement to attend a class to exercise a constitutional right, but at least this is a movement in the right direction. I support this bill. There is a similar bill, H.B. 47, moving through the House that was submitted by Representative Dan Flynn (R-2) that I also support.
H.B. 48 – Representative Dan Flynn (District 2) also filed this bill that moves toward what I mentioned in the previous bill. H.B. 48 completely removes the classroom requirement to RENEW a license. Obviously, I HIGHLY support this bill!
H.B. 553 – I LOVE THIS BILL! Submitted by Representative John Otto (District 18), this bill is nearly identical to the resolution I submitted to the City of Temple. The Mayor is refusing to support it or bring it to a vote. This bill makes it clear to the federal government that the State of Texas will play no part in their gun control schemes. It confirms that Texas finds “that all federal acts, laws, executive orders, agency orders, and rules or regulations of all kinds with the purpose, intent, or effect of confiscating any firearm, banning any firearm, limiting the size of a magazine for any firearm, imposing any limit on the ammunition that may be purchased for any firearm, taxing any firearm or ammunition therefore, or requiring the registration of any firearm or ammunition therefore, infringes upon Texan’s right to bear arms in direct violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and therefore, any such law is not made in pursuance of the Constitution, is not authorized by the Constitution, and thus, is not the supreme law of the land, and consequently, is invalid in this State and shall be further considered null and void and of no effect in this State.” This is what is known as a nullification bill. It calls upon the powers of the state under the 9th and 10th Amendments of the Constitution to nullify what are unConstitutional bills being bandied about in Congress. I can’t support this bill enough! Any law enforcement officer that seeks to enforce such laws potentially face a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment of up to one year or both. CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND DEMAND THEY PASS THIS BILL!
H.B. 627 – This bill is another great nullification bill focused on the Texan firearm industry. Under this bill, any gun manufacturer within the state boundaries would be immune and exempt from any federal laws targeting certain types of firearms. As long as the bill is built and sold within the state it won’t be subject to federal “interstate commerce” oversight. Representative Matt Kraus (District 93) is a forward thinker that sees the writing on the wall. The federal government is going to continue trying to find ways to regulate our rights to own firearms. Under this bill, Texans will be able to continue building guns in spite of any gun control schemes. I support this bill.
H.B. 928 – This is another great bill from Representative Matt Kraus (District 93). This bill is simple and to the point: no state official or agency will work with the federal government to enforce any legislation that infringes on the rights of Texans to keep and bear arms. See? To the point. I support this bill.
H.B. 1077 – Texas is currently a patchwork of rules across the educational spectrum. Some colleges allow students to keep firearms in their vehicles on campus and others don’t. This bill prohibits any higher education campus from creating rules or regulations that don’t allow students to bring firearms onto college campuses as long as they remain in a locked vehicle and out of sight. This bill doesn’t force universities to allow guns inside the buildings, leaving that decision up to the schools themselves. Representative Tim Kleinschmidt (District 17) is trying to do away with so-called “gun-free zones” and I support his efforts.
H.B. 1142 – One of the problems we have with guns in this country is that our schools are increasingly teaching our kids that guns are to be feared. Students can’t even eat a pop tart in the form of a gun without being suspended. Representative James White’s (District 19) bill provides local schools boards the discretion to add an elective course offering that would give their high school students the opportunity to gain an appreciation of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. HB 1142 would educate students about firearm safety and training, and hunter’s safety. All instructors would be required to be a qualified and certified handgun instructor, or a licensed peace officer employed by a local law enforcement agency. This optional course would involve students learning proper maintenance, cleaning, and safe use of common firearms such as: pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns. The bill would also provide for education on the history and importance of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. This is exactly what our children need. Most of us gun owners already teach our kids these things, but this would help educate the next generations not to be afraid of guns…unless you’re committing a crime. So, of course I support this bill.
H.B. 1314 – This bill submitted by Representative Brandon Creighton (District 16) makes it a crime for any state agency or law enforcement personnel to “intentionally or knowingly seize a firearm as permitted or required by a federal statute, order, rule, or regulation that imposes a prohibition, restriction, or other regulation on firearms that does not exist under the laws of this state.” In other words, if the federal government passes a gun control law that the State of Texas doesn’t have, it is unenforceable within the state and anyone enforcing such an unConstitutional federal statute faces a possible class A misdemeanor charge. It’s another nullification bill that recognizes the sovereignty of our great state and recognizes that the powers of the federal are enumerated and few. And, of course, I also support this bill.
H.B. 1872 – I don’t quite understand the purpose of this bill, but I don’t like it. Ron Simmons (District 65) submitted this bill to allow people to self refer as “federal prohibited person” who would be unable to own a firearm. My first question when I read this bill was, “why would someone put themselves on a federal gun ban category list?” I mean, why not just refrain from buying guns if you don’t think you should have them. Is it really against the law in Texas for someone to be prevented from adding themselves to the NICS database? Something is fishy about this bill in spite of Simmons identifying himself as a conservative. I’m opposed to this bill, but you should probably read it yourself and make up your own mind. I just don’t get it.
H.B. 1896 – This bill intends to allow school districts the autonomy to decide whether or not its employees can carry weapons. It basically abolishes “gun-free zone” status for teachers and administrators that the schools authorizes to carry firearms on campus. Anyone permitted to carry a concealed handgun in the school must be Texas CHL qualified and complete up to 20 hours of additional training which must include defensive techniques and handling a firearm in a public setting. Representative Phil King (District 61) is off to a good start here.
I’ve been digging into last year’s reports of CHL holders in Texas. As of December 31, 2012, there were 584,850 concealed handgun license holders in the State of Texas. In 2011 – the latest year for which statistics are available – there were 63,679 convictions for various crimes in the state ranging from indecent exposure to calling in hoax threats, to murder. Of those conviction, only 120 of them were perpetrated by a CHL holder. In other words, 0.18% of licensed firearms owners in the State of Texas commit crimes. Obtaining a CHL in Texas isn’t an easy feat. Those of us that have jumped through the hoops to obtain a CHL can be trusted to be law-abiding citizens. Yes, there will always be exceptions to that rule – the 0.18%. You can see the entire report yourself here.
The reason I bring this up is because I think this bill could do more. I think that CHL holders should also be allowed to carry on school properties. We aren’t a threat to the kids and can only serve to enhance the safety of the children and faculty. So, this bill is a good start, but I think we can expand upon it in the future. One step at a time…
H.B. 2860 – This bill enjoins the state attorney general “to obtain a temporary or permanent injunction against a municipality adopting a regulation” that violates the US or Texas Constitutional gun rights. Representative Patricia Harless (District 126) is serving notice liberals in the state that she won’t stand for any Texan to be denied their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
H.B. 3143 – Unfortunately, even Texas has anti-gun legislators. Representative Rafael Anchia (District 103) is about as anti-gun as it gets. His bill is the Texan version of the federal attempt to “close the gun show loophole.” This bill makes it a crime for ANYONE to sell a weapon at a gun show without performing a background check through the NICS. I’m against this bill for many reasons, not the least of which is that it doesn’t do anything but create obstacles to buying or selling a firearm. It only applies to private sales at gun shows. Assuming this bill would somehow prevent a criminal from being sold a gun at a gun show, what’s to stop two people from just walking across the street or driving to the next parking lot and making the sale to circumvent it? What then? Do we pass more legislation to “close the parking lot loophole?” This bill also places additional responsibilities on gun show promoters by making them accountable if someone at the gun show were to violate this law. I don’t like laws that make innocent people responsible for another person’s crime. I don’t like feel-good laws that do nothing to protect the rights of citizens while also seeking to deal with the crimes for which they were proposed. This is a bill that needs to die a quick death. And Anchia needs to be voted out of office.
H.B. 3772 – Well, where Anchia dropped the ball on his anti-gun legislation, fellow anti-gun Democrat Garnet Coleman (District 147) picks it back up and runs with it. Coleman’s bill mandates ANYONE selling a gun to another individual ANYWHERE to run the buyer through a background check. According to the bill, it doesn’t apply to family within the third degree by consanguinity (blood relation) or within the second degree by affinity (marriage). In other words, I couldn’t sell to my best friend or lifelong neighbor without running them through NICS. The problem with these types of bills is that they don’t work without another specific step to make it possible – registration. Coleman and Anchia are your typical, underhanded liberals trying to chip away at our rights one step at a time. They know they can’t confiscate weapons without registration to know where they are. They can’t get registration without some trigger to support it. That trigger is usually these private sales bills. For that reason, I will ALWAYS oppose these bills and urge you to do the same. Coleman also needs to be voted out of office.
And there you have it. I hope you’ve been educated about what our legislature is up to. This list isn’t all-encompassing. I didn’t list them all for various reasons ranging from redundancy to accidentally deleting my tab and being too lazy to go back and find them. I urge everyone to contact their representatives, especially if they are liberals, and make your opinions known.