36 Pro- and Anti-Gun Bills Filed in Texas

Open carry advocates with a Texas flag attached to the barrel of an AR-15 rifle

It has only been a few weeks since the Texas Legislature opened for its 2015 session and legislators have already filed over three dozen pro-gun and gun-control bills. As of this writing, January 29, 2015, only five of those bills have been read and referred to committee—Senate Bills 11, 258, 256, 257 and 259.

Senate Bill 11

Authored by Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress), along with 10 others, Senate Bill 11 allows valid concealed handgun license (CHL) holders to carry a concealed handgun on college campuses. The bill gives permission to carry on all property of privately and publicly owned institutions of higher learning including dormitories and campus housing. The bill allows the college to put rules in place of storage for firearms in campus housing. However, it prevents any college to ban the legal carry of handguns. Senate Bill 11 exempts hospitals run by or on college campuses.

Open carry advocates with a Texas flag attached to the barrel of an AR-15 rifle
Legislators filed nine bills and one House Joint Resolution before the March 13 deadline in support of the open carry of handguns in Texas.

Senate Bill 258

One of the favorite anti-gun measures of gun control groups is closing the mythical gun show loophole. Authored by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), Senate Bill 258 makes it a Class A misdemeanor to sell a firearm at a gun show without conducting a criminal background check. It forces each person who sells a firearm to maintain a record of every sale unless the sale of the firearm is to a police officer or CHL-holder. Further, Senate Bill 258 holds the gun show promoter criminally liable if anyone is found selling a firearm without performing a criminal background check.

In Texas, dealers selling at gun shows must perform background checks on buyers before selling the a firearm. However, private sales between individuals are not subject to the same law. Surprisingly, the bill that achieved the most attention has yet to move.

Legislators filed nine bills and one House Joint Resolution before the March 13 deadline in support of the open carry of handguns in Texas. It has been illegal since the end of the Civil War to openly carry a handgun in Texas. The open carry of long guns and black powder guns without a permit is legal in Texas.

Two of the bills, House Bill 195 and Senate Bill 342 allow for Constitutional Carry—the ability to legally carry a firearm openly or concealed without a permit. The majority of the open carry bills filed require permits and other restrictions, such as Representative Debbie Riddle’s (R-Spring) House Bill 415 requiring open carry holsters to have “dual points of resistance.”

The other open carry bills filed

The open carry bills made headlines and garnered nationwide media attention in the last few years due to open carry activists events and protests staged all over Texas. Since the Texas House and Senate session opened on January 13, the open carry debate has become a seriously debated, hot button issue.

On the first day of session, members of Open Carry Tarrant County (OCTC) approached and subsequently kicked out of Representative Poncho Nevarez’s (D-Eagle Pass) office. In the past, Rep. Nevarez voted against campus carry and against lowering the required number of hours for training for a concealed carry license.

The group filmed the confrontation and posted it on its Facebook page.

After being kicked out of Rep. Nevarez’s office, a member of OCTC filming the incident stopped at a man in the hallway. He said, “What are you going to do, touch me or something? Are you creeping up behind me?” The man replies, “I’m just here, man.” The OCTC member said, “That’d be one wrong move, bro” and later you hear him say, “I’ll show you mean.”

Soon after the incident, the House granted permission for those who installed panic buttons in their offices to bill the state for the service and Rep. Nevarez was assigned a security detail.

On Tuesday, January 27, pro-gun activists’ favored candidate, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick—who co-sponsored a 2013 bill supporting concealed carry on campus—said he did not believe there were enough votes to get any open carry bill passed. Further, former Land Commissioner and open-carry supporter Jerry Patterson blames Open Carry Tarrant County for the possibility of the open carry bill not passing. Posting to OCTC members on social media, Patterson wrote, “If unlicensed OC doesn’t pass these antics will be the reason.”

Lt. Gov. Patrick’s comments quickly circulated through the firearms community with much criticism. One day after claiming there wasn’t enough support for open carry, Patrick issued a statement saying, “Now that 11 has support and is moving towards passage we can focus on other Second Amendment issues, including open carry, which I have consistently supported.”

It remains to be seen whether or not open carry will pass this year.

Other Note-Worthy Pro-Gun Bills Filed

  • House Joint Resolution 61 pertains to a constitutional amendment for the right to hunt and fish
  • Senate Joint Resolution 22 supports a constitutional amendment for the right to hunt and fish
  • House Bill 226 imposes fines on those who improperly post 30-06 signs
  • House Bill 308 removes all restrictions on where a CHL holder can carry
  • Senate Bill 311 removes restrictions on private property and privately owned business for CHL holders
  • House Bill 206, House Bill 712 and Senate Bill 228 support a tax-free weekend for hunters and shooters once a year on shooting, firearms and hunting-related gear
  • House Bills 176 and 413 pertain to The Second Amendment Preservation Act
  • House Bill 216 lowers the required age from 21 to 18 for a permit to carry a concealed handgun
  • House Bill 695 extends concealed carry into privately owned hospitals and nursing homes
  • House Bill 868 pertains to the Teacher’s Protection Act allowing educators to use deadly force on school property, on school buses and school-sponsored events if justified
  • Senate Bill 229 makes it an offense to unlawfully seize a firearm
  • Senate Bill 311 allows concealed carry in previously banned places including hospitals, amusement parks and churches

Anti-Gun Bills

Senator Ellis, who filed Senate Bill 258 requiring background checks at guns shows, filed more anti-gun bills and are all in committee.

  • Senate Bill 256 bans the ownership, selling, rental, loaning or gifting of magazines holding more than 20 rounds with the offense of a Class A misdemeanor
  • Senate Bill 257 makes it a criminal offense for failing to report a lost or stolen firearm within 48 hours
  • Senate Bill 259 makes it an offense to transfer a firearm to any person without performing a background check

Do you support open carry? Tell us why or why not in the comment section.


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Comments (7)

  1. What a sad state of our country when common sense fails to guide us. My right to drive a car doesn’t end when I cross a state lines, why should my right to carry end at the state line. I don’t remember any place in our rights that states that the 2nd ends at a state line or any of our other of our rights for that matter.

    When we travel and explore the great outdoors, forest or remote parks anyone not prohibited from owning firearms should be able to open carry a firearm for the protection of self and family from bears, wild boar, cats and other dangerous animals when attacked unprovoked. What part of the constitution limited us in our right to carry to protect ourselves. The 2nd placed no prohibition or other restrictions on our right to protect our country or our family. I am tired of people be they citizen or clueless elected officials infringing on our constitution because of there fear of an inanimate object. I love the great outdoors and seeing this beautiful country of ours and the nature found outdoors but would feel safer knowing that should an unprovoked attack happen I have at least a small chance to protect my family. For those who would rather not carry I respect you decision. But please don’t ask me to also stand defenseless against predators when I travel be that a man or animal.

    I would wish that we should be able to carry in a none threatening way as not to alarm others who chose not to carry. I am not looking to shack others or make a political statement when I carry or to intimidate other. I do not live in fear and I am not paranoid, I am trained and know how to use my arms. You once allowed me to be armed in the service to protect our country. I am a father and a grandfather who loves my country and its people.

    Why do you fear me now.

    1. Your basic human right of armed self-defense does not change when you cross a state line. As a federal right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment, that right is uniform throughout the US under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and is supreme over any inconsistent state mandates under the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the Constitution. Try as they might, the states are simply powerless to undermine that right.

      In Heller, the US Supreme Court ruled that all law-abiding citizens who are mentally competent have the right to have a fully-functional firearm — specifically including a handgun — immediately available for self-defense. Any state that seeks to interfere with that right does so at its own risk, and subject its officials to personal liability under 42 USC 1983 for their acts undertaken under “color of state law” in defiance of that federal right. While a few states have yet to accept the truth of the matter, under the Heller rationale a state simply cannot require you to have have your defensive firearm unloaded, locked up, out of reach, etc.

      In Heller, the Supreme Court also made it clear that the state and federal governments cannot do anything to regulate firearms beyond (a) “reasonable” restrictions on commercial sales; (b) keeping guns away from felons and the mentally ill, and (c) keeping guns out of “sensitive” places like schools and courthouses [and by “sensitive” the Court presumably means places where adequate security is provided so as to justify the government in deciding that it is not necessary for law-abiding citizens to exercise their basic human right of armed self-defense].

      In Heller the Supreme Court basically affirmed that the US really IS a democracy in which the People rule the government rather than vice versa, because the basis of the Court’s reasoning was that the means by which the People decide to defend ourselves inherently enjoy constitutional protection. Any attempt by any politician to substitute his/her judgment on any such matter in place of the judgment of the People is inherently unconstitutional.

      For example, given that the AR-15 is one of the most-sold rifles in all of history (after the Winchester Model 94 and Ruger 10/22) if we the People decide that we want standard-capacity 30-round magazines for our AR-15s, and we prove that we have made that decision by purchasing AR-15s with those standard-capacity magazines in the huge numbers we have, nobody in the government has the right to second-guess our judgment. Likewise, if we the People decide that a concealed handgun is our weapon of choice for self-defense, as 22+ MILLION of us have decided, nobody in government has the right to second-guess our judgment. Similarly, because Open Carry was common in other periods of our history, nobody in government has the right to second-guess that judgment of the People either.

  2. These dipwads who are seeking to regulate PRIVATE sales of firearms at gun shows seem to ignore (a) the fact that the US Supreme Court stated in Heller that the government has only the power to regulate “commercial” sales of firearms; and (b) there is no evidence that the so-called “gun show loophole” results in sales of firearms used in crime. In fact, when Cuomo tried to “prove” his stupid “gun show loophole” theory by sending undercover agents to COMMIT CRIMES by buying guns illegally at gun shows, they walked away empty handed because nobody at a gun show wanted to deal with a possible criminal. His experiment backfired on him — but, like the dishonest lefty totalitarian he is, he he lacks the intellectual integrity to disclose the truth.

    Furthermore, as the ATF has made clear, as well as every academic study on the matter — including extensive interviews with ACTUAL criminals as to where they get guns — criminals specifically DO NOT go to gun shows to get guns. There are too many cops at guns shows not only on duty but as attendees, and the criminals have much easier ways to get guns than by taking that risk. Almost always criminals buy their guns from illegal street dealers. The so-called “gun show loophole” is a red herring left-wing totalitarian fantasy.

  3. As an open carry advocate and firm 2nd Ammendment supporter, let me say that I believe that the confrontational tactics of Open Carry militants have the potential for damaging the gun rights cause far more than the exploitation of gun-related tragedies by our opponents. The very possession of a deadly weapon, particularly possession of a firearm must bring with it a set of enhanced responsibilities. One of the most important of these is civility. It is one thing for a man to go out in public and then proceed to behave like a boorish lout, it is quite another if he does so with an AR-15 in his hands. To the citizen on the fence about gun rights, it does not matter that the vast majority of 2nd Ammendment advocates are law abiding, safety conscious, and polite. Every time one of these groups of Open Carry Jihadis makes the news by strong arming their way into offices or Applebee’s and thus creating fear and discontent, the only image our fence-sitter will come away with is completely congruent to the one that gun control groups have tried so hard to attach to us.

    1. Yes, you are correct. Too many of these Open Carry nutcases confuse the RIGHT to Open Carry with it being smart to do so. We also have the right to burn the American flag and eat our own excrement if we so choose, but that does not make either a smart thing to do.

      While Open Carry is a right, it is completely irresponsible to use a firearm to make a political point that can be made in much better and more effective ways.

      22+ MILLION Americans have decided that Concealed Carry makes more sense than Open Carry, for very sound reasons.

  4. I fully support open carry. I feel the 2nd. Amendment provides for persoanl discretion in the wearing, owning, buying, and selling of firearms. We should not have to vote and/or legislate for this at all. We already have this right and should not have to renew or reaffirm it all the time. We unfortunately have enough restrictions at gun shows which are often family events in Texas, and in Texas our gun shows are often educational in our national history of personal liberty which is EXACTLY where we should be taking our children. The more room we give the closet-communists amongst us to erode our rights the faster we are going to lose them. I personally may never open carry a sidearm but I sure as hell don’t need a governmental body dictating / mandating / restricting how I, or any other law-abiding citizen, can use personal liberty and discretion in doing so.

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