Over the weekend, Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed important legislation protecting the privacy rights of lawful firearms purchasers and strengthening the state firearms preemption law. Both measures will take effect on September 1, 2023:
House Bill 2837, by Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), prohibits financial institutions and credit card companies from requiring licensed dealers to use a firearms-specific merchant category code (MCC) to categorize retail gun purchases, rather than using a general merchandise retailer code or a sporting goods retailer code. It protects the privacy rights of lawful purchasers of firearms or ammunition by preventing payment card processing systems from collecting and misusing this data to surveil, report or disclose these legal transactions.
Gun control advocates successfully pressured activist banks on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to create a unique MCC for licensed gun dealers. Now, they are pushing lawmakers to require credit card companies to use these MCCs to gather data on and track lawful firearms and ammunition purchases. Since the federal government is prohibited by law from creating and maintaining a registry of gun owners, they are attempting to outsource this effort to the private financial sector.
HB 2837 ensures that this will not happen in the Lone Star State! Texas joins Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia in taking swift action this year to enact laws protecting lawful gun purchasers’ privacy when using credit cards at firearm retailers.
House Bill 3137, by Rep. Carrie Isaac (R-Wimberley), expands the state firearms preemption law to prohibit municipalities or counties from requiring firearm owners to obtain liability insurance, preventing such costly, California-style local regulations from being imposed on law-abiding Texas gun owners in the future.
Governor Abbott had already signed a third pro-Second Amendment measure into law back in May: House Bill 1760 by Rep. Cole Hefner (R-Mount Pleasant). The current prohibition in the Texas Penal Code on firearms possession at school-sponsored activities could be interpreted to include countless locations where school field trips, school organization fundraisers and after-school programs occur, including public and private venues that are not owned by, or under the control of, a school. HB 1760 makes it clear that License To Carry holders and permitless carriers in possession of otherwise legal firearms at these locations would not become felons simply because students are present on the same premises. The bill clarifies that it is only an offense to carry a firearm where school activities are taking place if they are being conducted on property that is owned or operated by a school.
Please take a moment to thank Governor Abbott for signing HB 2837, HB 3137 and HB 1760 into law to protect our Second Amendment rights in Texas!