Monday, February 18, 2013

Legislation That Would Allow Firearm Safety Courses in Texas High Schools

Texas State Representative James White has introduced HB 1142, legislation that would allow Texas high schools to teach firearm safety at the school.  From Representative White's press release: 
Today Representative James White filed HB 1142, which provides local schools boards the discretion to add an elective course offering that would give their high school students the opportunity to gain an appreciation of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

“The origins of liberty in our great nation reside in large part with the idea espoused in the Second Amendment,” said Representative White. “As a conservative, I want Texas students to have the option to learn more about both this critical part of our Constitution, and the practical knowledge of how to safely operate the common arms Texans use for hunting and self-defense.”

HB 1142 would educate students about firearm safety and training, and hunter’s safety. All instructors would be required to be a qualified and certified handgun instructor, or a licensed peace officer employed by a local law enforcement agency. This optional course would involve students learning proper maintenance, cleaning, and safe use of common firearms such as: pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns. The bill would also provide for education on the history and importance of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
I wholeheartedly agree that firearms safety should be taught in our schools.  If we have a human right to self defense, and if we support the idea that we have a natural right to the most efficient tools available to accomplish that task, then we also have the responsibility to teach our children the safe and responsible handling of those tools.

The bill is a short one, so I have entered the complete text here.



relating to a public school elective course on firearm safety, training, and history.


SECTION 1. Subchapter A, Chapter 28, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 28.015 to read as follows:

Sec. 28.015. ELECTIVE COURSE ON FIREARM SAFETY, TRAINING, AND HISTORY. (a) A school district may offer to students in grade nine or above an elective course on firearm safety, training, and history.

(b) The purpose of a course under this section is to teach the history and importance of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and to teach respect for and proper use of firearms. A course under this section must include:

(1) instruction on the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution;

(2) instruction on firearm safety;

(3) training in the use of firearms, including the safe use of common firearms such as pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns;

(4) instruction on firearm maintenance and cleaning; and

(5) instruction on hunter safety.

(c) If a school district offers a course under this section, the person who teaches the elements of the course listed in Subsections (b)(2) through (5) must be:

(1) a qualified handgun instructor certified under Section 411.190, Government Code; or

(2) a peace officer who is licensed under Chapter 1701, Occupations Code, and who is employed by a local law enforcement agency.

SECTION 2. This Act applies beginning with the 2013-2014 school year.

SECTION 3. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2013.

Right now there are only four Texas Representatives supporting this bill and there is no companion bill in the Senate, so the odds of this bill leaving committee are very slim.   Of course, legislation like this does have detractors.

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