Friday, June 05, 2009

The Long Awaited... update on the status of firearm related legislation in the 2009 Texas Legislative Session.

I will start with the bills I was actively supporting:
  • HB267 / SB1188: An act relating to the interstate purchase of certain firearms.

The BATFE had been denying long gun purchases to some Texans who were trying to purchase firearms from states that were not "contiguous" to the state of Texas. This legislation changed the working in Section 46.07 of the Texas Penal Code to resolve that issue.

SB 1188 was signed into law by Governor Perry on May 30th and was effective immediately upon his signature.

  • HB1020: An act relating to the use, exhibition, or possession of a firearm by public school students participating in certain school-sponsored programs and activities sponsored or supported by the Parks and Wildlife Department.
HB 1020 opens the door to public school sponsored, off campus, shooting sports.

HB 1020 passed the Senate and the House. It was sent to Governor Perry on May 26th and is awaiting his signature.
  • HB1301 / SB730: An act relating to an employee ’s transportation and storage of certain firearms or ammunition while on certain property owned or controlled by the employee ’s employer.

    In other words, the Employer Parking Lot bills.

Let's start with the House version of the bill, HB 1301. HB 1301 was referred to the Public Safety Committee on February 26th. Nearly a month later, March 23rd, HB 1301 received a public hearing. Following the hearing, the bill was left "pending in committee".

The Senate version of this bill did much better. SB 730 was referred to the Criminal Justice Committee on February 25th. SB 730 received two public hearings in committee, was amended and was placed on the Senate Intent Calender on March 24th. On March 25th, SB 730 passed the Texas Senate with a unanimous vote of 31-0. SB 730, which received the full support of the Senate, was sent to the House on March 26th. Five days later, March 31st, SB 730 was read for the first time in the House and referred to Public Safety Committee. This bill, which had the unanimous support of the Senate, sat in the Public Safety Committee for near another month before receiving a public hearing on April 27th. SB 730 was voted on in committee on April 27th, the results: Ayes=5 Nays=0 Present Not Voting=1 Absent=3.

SB 730 was voted out of committee on April 27th. The bill was not sent to Calendars until May 6th, a full 10 days later. SB 730 sat in Calendars for two weeks before being considered on May 21st. The Calendar Committee placed SB 730 on the General State Calendar on May 23rd, too late for it to get considered on the House floor. Being placed on the General Calendar this late in the session pretty much ensured that SB 730 would not reach the House floor, even without the chubbing that was going on to prevent a vote on the Voter ID bill.

SB 730 was sent to the House by a unanimous vote of the Senate. The House version of this bill, HB 1301, had the bi-partisan support of 48 Members who signed on as either authors or coauthors of this legislation. This bill had the full support of the Governor and was legislation supported by the Texas Republican Party Platform.

Even after SB 730 was amended to exempt the petrochemical industry and schools, it was killed by two Republican led committees.

  • HB1644 / SB1236: An act relating to admonishments given to a person charged with a misdemeanor.
This bill requires a defendant be notified of the effect of a guilty plea or conviction for family violence on their right to possess firearms and ammo.

SB 1236 passed the Senate and the House. It was sent to Governor Perry on May 22nd and is awaiting his signature.

  • HB1893 / SB 1236: An Act relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of institutions of higher education.

    These are the the campus-carry bills

As you know, these bills are dead. I have a future post, The Life and Death of a Texas Campus Carry Bill", bubbling around in my head so I will save any commentary until then.
  • HB3684: An act relating to the carrying of a handgun by a disabled person.
I did not talk enough about this legislation that would have allowed a disabled CHL holder to open-carry if the person’s disability “prevents the person from effectively concealing the handgun.”

HB 3684 died in the House Public Safety Committee without even receiving a public hearing. I guess "Public Safety" does not extend to those with disabilities.
  • HCR76: A resolution memorializing Congress in defense of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, affirming the right of states to nullify acts of Congress, executive orders, and judicial orders, and calling for the creation of a joint committee to communicate with other states about the limits of federal power.
HCR 76, my favorite bill of the session, died in the State Affairs Committee without receiving a public hearing.

Now for firearm related bills that I was actively opposing this legislative session:
  • HB760 / SB2345, HB736, HB1119, HB1507 and SB1893 are all noise regulation related bills that had the potential to significantly curtail firearms use in unincorporated areas of the state. All these bills failed.
  • HB1164 / SB651: An act relating to restrictions on the use of a stun gun; providing certain criminal penalties and defenses to prosecution. These bills would require an individual to obtain a license similar to a CHL in order to carry or use a stun gun. SB94 is a similar bill that would criminalize having a stun gun in your own home with out a license. These bills also failed.
There were several pieces of CHL and Firearm related legislation that made it through the legislature that I was neutral on but are very important. I will cover this legislation in it's own post soon.

Oh, one last thing. Hunters will be happy to know that PETA sponsored bill HB 1395 also died in committee.

That is it in a nut shell. Some minor victories and a couple pretty significant defeats. We did move ahead during this session and suffered no setbacks. The fact that we did not move as far ahead as we had hoped is disappointing, but not totally unexpected.

We lost ground in the last election cycle. Losing elections has consequences


Frances Clements said...

I am sad about the 10th amendment one and the disabled persons one in particular. It is amazing to me how much deception goes on to keep things from being voted on or to sneak things in as amendments or something that would have never gotten past on its own. I wrote about one just today that will give CPS free reign (no parental notification no court order just come and take your kids with a CPS workers affidavit) that got to the governors desk via trickery. How very annoying.

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Great post, JR. Thank you for making it.

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