On Tuesday, January 10, the Texas Legislature will convene in Austin for its 85th Regular Session. Pre-filing of legislation began in mid-November. Since then, dozens of pro-Second Amendment measures have already been introduced and received bill numbers, including but not limited to:
Senate Bill 16, by Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) & Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) eliminates original and renewal application fees for a License to Carry (LTC). The fee for an original license is $140, and it is one of the highest in the country and has not changed since 1995, despite advances in technology and passage of laws streamlining the license application and issuing process.
Senate Bill 133 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) establishes a Second Amendment sales tax holiday, exempting firearms and hunting supplies from the state sales tax during the last Saturday and Sunday in August before hunting season starts.
Senate Bill 263 by Rep. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) removes the minimum caliber requirement for the License to Carry proficiency exam. Currently, individuals seeking a handgun license are required to test with a .32 handgun or larger caliber.
Senate Bill 349 by Sen. Creighton clarifies the definition of “school-sponsored activity” in the Penal Code to avoid the establishment of roving gun-free zones in buildings or areas that are not owned by or under the control of an educational institution.
House Bill 56 by Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) would allow first responders with LTCs to carry in prohibited and posted locations while engaged in official duties.
House Bill 339 by Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) eliminates original and renewal LTC application fees (similar to SB 16).
House Bill 375 by Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) would allow individuals who are not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm to carry without a license.
House Bill 403 by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) removes the minimum caliber requirement for the LTC proficiency exam (similar to SB 263).
House Bill 485 by Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Frisco) establishes a Second Amendment sales tax holiday (similar to SB 133).
House Bill 560 by Rep. Springer would eliminate “gun-free zones” for persons possessing valid LTCs.
House Bill 606 by Rep. Springer provides immunity to property or business owners who elect not to post their premises off-limits to LTCs with 30.06 and/or 30.07 signs.
On the other side of the coin, former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg and his national gun control groups Everytown for Gun Safety/Moms Demand Action (along with their state partners at Texas Gun Sense), spent the interim plotting to bring misguided proposals to restrict your Second Amendment rights to Texas lawmakers. Don’t be fooled by attempts to package these bills as “sensible public safety measures” or “common-sense solutions to gun violence” – most, if not all of them are straight out of Bloomberg’s anti-gun playbook. Those measures include, but are not limited to, the following:
Senate Bill 221 by Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) prohibits the transfer of a firearm to a person the transferor knows to be listed in the terrorist screening database maintained by the FBI – a secret government list that neither the state nor any individual has access to.
Senate Bill 222 by Sen. Menendez designates June as “Gun Violence Awareness Month.” New York – home of gun bans, magazine restrictions and Everytown’s billionaire financier Bloomberg – is the only state to have adopted similar legislation, which gun control groups have used as a platform to promote themselves and their positions.
House Bill 111 by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) requires the Department of Public Safety to create a “firearms safety educational program” involving the development and publishing of secure gun storage pamphlets to be distributed through federal firearm licensed dealers (paid for out of LTC program funds.) This is already required under federal law and the firearms industry offers free gun lock and safety information distribution to law enforcement departments across the country.
House Bill 191 by Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) reduces the minimum size, lettering and possibly the language requirements for 30.06 signs that have been in effect for over 20 years, and require them to be made available for download on DPS’ website. The net effect would be less effective notice for LTCs and more locations being posted off-limits to license holders. (The same requirements would apply to 30.07 signs as well.)
House Bill 246 by Rep. Raphael Anchia (D-Dallas) returns “No Carry” signs to the days of the pictogram. The proliferation of such signs immediately after passage of Texas’ concealed carry law more than two decades ago was what lead to the creation of the more uniform, consistent and recognizable 30.06 signs in the first place.
House Bill 255 by Rep. Anchia expands prohibited locations in statute for LTCs to include recreational areas and venues such as indoor or outdoor arenas, stadiums, golf courses, automobile racetracks, amphitheaters, auditoriums, theaters, museums, zoos and civic or convention centers.
House Bill 259 by Rep. Anchia restricts the private transfer of firearms at gun shows – a favorite target of the gun control crowd – by requiring every transaction to be conducted through a licensed dealer involving extensive government paperwork and payment of an undetermined fee.
House Bill 282 by Rep. Anchia & House Bill 391 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) allow public institutions of higher education to “opt-out” of Texas’ campus carry statute, effectively gutting the law the Legislature adopted just last session.
House Bill 291 by Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) & House Bill 466 by Rep. Anchia, respectively, ban open carry by LTCs in the City of Dallas and allow municipalities with populations over 750,000 to “opt-out” of Texas’ open carry law.
The deadline for introduction of bills is March 10. Your NRA-ILA will keep you posted as more legislation affecting gun owners and sportsmen is filed and as the measures listed above receive committee referrals and hearing schedules. In the meantime, you can contact your state lawmakers and tell them where you stand on the aforementioned bills.
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