Proposed Legislation Expands Gun-Free Zones & Makes it Easier for Business Owners to Ban LTCs
An unprecedented amount of anti-gun legislation has been introduced this legislative session; your action and participation will be necessary to help defeat it! On Tuesday, April 11, the Texas House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety will consider two restrictive firearms bills: HB 255, sponsored by Rep. Raphael Anchia (D-Dallas), and HB 899, sponsored by Rep. Poncho Nevarez (D-Eagle Pass). The public hearing will take place at 8:00am in Room E2.014 of the Texas Capitol. Please contact committee members in opposition to both bills and make plans to attend this hearing to speak out against these gun control measures!
HB 255 would expand the prohibited places that apply to License to Carry (LTC) holders in Penal Code Section 46.035 to include facilities such as golf courses, amphitheaters, auditoriums, theaters, museums, zoos, civic centers and convention centers, provided they are posted off-limits. Private property owners already have the right to restrict access by LTCs in these locations by posting a 30.06 or 30.07 sign. HB 255 would essentially repeal portions of SB 273 which passed last session and grant local governmental entities the authority to ban licensees from these same public (taxpayer-owned) properties. This would include the convention center in downtown Dallas, where NRA's Annual Meeting will be held in 2018. (Here's a link to a report on passage of HB 273 from 2015.)
HB 899 repeals the current 30.06 and 30.07 signage requirements that apply to LTCs and directs the Department of Public Safety to adopt rules and specifications for posting that can't exceed the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper. It also requires the agency to make these signs available for downloading from their website. This bill takes us backward more than two decades to the days of the pictogram signs -- an image of a gun with a red circle around it and a line through it -- that popped up all over Texas immediately after the Concealed Handgun License law passed in 1995. Eliminating the current 30.06 and 30.07 signs and replacing them with more convenient ways for property owners to exclude licensees has been an ongoing project of ex-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's national gun control groups, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action. Current law should not be changed because it strikes a reasonable balance between property owners' rights and individuals' self-defense rights. The existing 30.06 signs have been around for more than twenty years, are easily identifiable and provide effective notice to licensees wherever they go. LTCs -- and property owners -- deserve the uniformity and consistency they provide.
Please call the members of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee and urge them to oppose both HB 255 and HB 899!