Next week, two gun control measures will be heard in Texas House and Senate committees. Both are patterned after legislation that New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg and the anti-gun organizations he funds have aggressively pushed on the state and national levels.
On Monday, March 20, at 2:00pm or upon adjournment of the House in Room E2.014 of the State Capitol, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee will hear House Bill 866, legislation sponsored by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) and patterned after California gun laws. HB 866 would allow any family member or household member, prosecuting attorney or peace officer to petition for a lethal violence protective order against an individual based on allegations that the person has engaged or is engaging in behavior that the petitioners subjectively deem to be dangerous. Individuals against whom such orders are issued could be forced by the courts, without a hearing, to surrender any personally-owned firearms to a law enforcement agency. Texas already has strong protective order laws in place and procedures by which peace officers can dispossess dangerous individuals of firearms which – unlike HB 866 –contain important due process protections before someone is denied their Second Amendment rights.
Please contact members of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and urge them to oppose HB 866.
On Tuesday, March 21, at 1:30pm or upon adjournment of the Senate in Room E1.016, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee will hear Senate Bill 221, sponsored by Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), legislation prohibiting the transfer of a firearm to a person one knows to be listed in the terrorist screening database maintained by the FBI. It is unclear how this would work, since licensed firearms dealers cannot access the list, nor can private individuals who are selling or transferring firearms. Persons may be added to the watchlist without being charged or convicted of any crimes, and those on the list are never notified if, how, or why they are on it. There is no process in place to have your name removed from the list, and mistaken identities are common. In every other case in which a person is deprived of their Second Amendment liberties, they are afforded a judicial proceeding. Due process of the law must be followed before depriving anyone of their constitutional rights.
Please contact members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and urge them to oppose SB 221.
Also next week, priority legislation addressing the high fees for Licenses to Carry (LTCs) in the State of Texas will be considered by both Senate and House committees. Senate Bill 16, sponsored by Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), will be considered by the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday. House Bill 300, sponsored by Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford), will be before the House Homeland Security & Public Safety on Tuesday. We will report back to you on the outcome of these committee meetings as lawmakers work on these important bills!