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2017 Legislative Session

Texas Legislative Session

Bill Filing Updates for 2017

Use this link to find more information on the State’s Legislative Website

Bad Bills–Bills to Stop!

Senate Bill 221 by Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) prohibits the transfer of a firearm to a person the actor knows to be listed in the terrorist screening database maintained by the FBI – a secret government list that neither the state nor any individual has access to.  Referred to Senate Affairs Committee

Senate Bill 222 by Sen. Menendez designates June as “Gun Violence Awareness Month.”  New York – home of gun bans, magazine restrictions and Everytown’s billionaire financier Bloomberg – is the only state to have adopted similar legislation, which gun control groups have used as a platform to promote themselves and their positions. Referred to Senate State Affairs Committee

House Bill 111 by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) requires the Department of Public Safety to create a “firearms safety educational program” involving the development and publishing of secure gun storage pamphlets to be distributed through federal firearm licensed dealers (paid for out of LTC program funds.)  This is currently required under federal law and the firearms industry offers free gun lock and safety information distribution to law enforcement departments across the country. Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

Note of interest:  For many years the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department and El Paso’s County Hospital presented NRA’s Eddie Eagle Program (firearm safety and avoidance training for very young children) as part of their community outreach.    This important safety program was discontinued due to local politics, although the NRA logo is tiny, the program was developed in the early 1990, is provided and paid for through NRA member donations, plus instructed through non-political groups such as law enforcement.  Also the Eddie Eagle program is listed in Texas statute to this day.

House Bill 191 by Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) reduces the minimum size, lettering and possibly the language requirements for 30.06 signs that have been in effect for over 20 years, and require them to be made available for download on DPS’ website.  The net effect would be less effective notice for LTCs and more locations being posted off-limits to license holders.  (The same requirements would apply to 30.07 signs as well.) Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 234 by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) strengthens anti-gun language to allow tax-payer owned property to be leased and managed by a private management firm which can post this tax-payer owned property off-limits to LTCs.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 246 by Rep. Raphael Anchia (D-Dallas) returns “No Carry” signs to the days of graphics.  The proliferation of PC 30.06 and PC 30.07.  In 1997, the Democratic majority of the Texas Legislature passed language and sign design to create a hazard sign for CHLs, passionate about carrying and staying within the law.  Businesses posted the signs or not, as is their right, and all without complaint from the business community and without incident caused by the licensee.   Why change?  1.1 Million active licenses in Texas plus visitors from 34 states deserve consistency in Texas law.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 255 by Rep. Anchia expands prohibited locations in statute where LTCs may carry,  to include recreational areas and venues such as indoor or outdoor arenas, stadiums, golf courses, automobile racetracks, amphitheaters, auditoriums, theaters, museums, zoos and civic or convention centers.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 259 by Rep. Anchia restricts the private transfer of firearms at gun shows – a favorite target of the gun control crowd – by requiring every transaction to be conducted through a licensed dealer involving extensive government paperwork and payment of an undetermined fee.   This is harped on although Bureau of Justice statistics indicate only 1% of firearms used in crime were purchased at a venue which could be defined as a gun show.  Most crime weapons were stolen or purchased off the streets.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 282 by Rep. Anchia & House Bill 391 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) to allow public institutions of higher education to “opt-out” of Texas’ campus carry statute, effectively gutting the law Legislature adopted and last session.  Note: PC46.03 allows schools, with written authorization those in charge of the school, to allow firearms into school buildings.  Today,  over 84 ISDs across the state have acted to enhance school protection by giving written authorization to various members of their faculty or staff with an LTC to carry into the building and into the classroom.  Personal Protection is Opt-In, not Opt-Out.  This trend for ISD’s began in 2007 with Harrold ISD and grew post-Sandy Hook.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 291 by Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) & House Bill 466 by Rep. Anchia, respectively, ban open carry by LTCs in the City of Dallas and allow municipalities with populations over 750,000 to “opt-out” of the Texas’ open carry law.  Law-abiding Texans especially law enforcement personnel deserve consistency in law.  LTC is not reported to be a problem for any city, regardless of size.   Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 465 by Rep. Anchia would significantly broaden locations where licensees are prohibited to include:  post secondary schools, child care, after school programs, nursery schools and libraries.   It also broadens the definition of an amusement park to include any size city with a 10 acre park.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 899 by Rep. Nevarez relating to the notice given by a property owner prohibiting a handgun license holder from carrying a handgun on certain property. Another bill to change the PC 30.06 and PC 30.07 sign, successfully used by private property owners, for two decades.  It was designed as a “hazard sign” for licensees, easy to spot from a distance and hard to hide.  The “hazard” is for the licensee who else would be stopped by a sign?  Certainly not a criminal.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 987 by Rep. Anchia would roll back Castle Doctrine and strip the right to use deadly force where deadly force is required to answer an immediate attack.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 1229 by Rep. Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso) would prohibit the transfer of a firearm to anyone list on the Terrorist Watch List, although the list is secret and the person in question maybe otherwise eligible to purchase and possess a firearm.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

Good Bills–Bills to Pass!

Senate Bill 16 by Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) & Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) eliminates original and renewal application fees for a License To Carry.  The $140 fee for an original license is $140 and one of the highest in the country and has not changed since 1995, despite advances in technology and passage of laws streamlining the license application and issuing process.   House Bills 339 by Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock)   (identical).    House Bill 1024 by Rep. Kyle Kacal (R-College Station)   (identical)

Senate Bill 133 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) establishes a Second Amendment sales tax holiday, exempting firearms and hunting supplies from the state sales tax during the last Saturday and Sunday in August before hunting season starts House Bill 485 by Rep. Pat Fallow is identical.

Senate Bill 263 by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) removes the minimum caliber requirement for the License To Carry proficiency exam.  House Bill 403 by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) is identical.    Currently, individuals seeking a handgun license must test with a .32 caliber or larger handgun, although there’s no caliber requirement for “carrying”.  The 50-round course of fire has proven to be a hardship for the elderly or persons with hand injuries.

Senate Bill 349 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) clarifies the definition of “school-sponsored activity” in the Penal Code to avoid roving gun-free zones, off-campus buildings or on areas of land, not owned by or under the control of an educational institution.  House Bill 968 by Rep. Will Metcalf (R-Conroe) is identical.

Senate Bill 583 by Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) provides consistency in statute regarding the penalty for trespass by a LTC in locations listed in PC 46.035.    House Bill 1209 by Rep. DeWayne Burns (R-Cleburn) is identical.

Senate Bill 618 by Senator Craig Estes (R-Witchita Falls)  provides business owners and others in control of private property additional immunity from liability when allowing entry by those with a handgun licenseHouse Bill 606 by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) significantly similar.

House Bills without Senate Companions

House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 51 by Rep. Mike Lang (R-Coleman) designating the 1847 Colt-Walker Pistol as the official state handgun of Texas.  **See press release TSRA-PAC Legislative News.  

House Bill 56 by Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) would allow first responders with LTCs to carry into prohibited and posted locations while engaged in official duties.   Imagine a teacher having a heart attack and first responder unable to secure his handgun due to personal vehicle style.  **Currently no Senate Bill.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 375 by Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) would allow individuals who are not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm to carry without a license.  More bills on this issue are expected to be filed as Texas moves toward a full restoration of rights, lost in the 1870’s.   ** Currently no Senate Bill.    See HB 1911 by Rep. James White!  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 560 by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) would eliminate “gun-free zones” for persons possessing valid LTCs.  ** Currently no Senate Bill.  Referred to House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

House Bill 1911 by Rep. James White (R-Hollister) would remove prohibition for the possession of an unconcealed handgun carried by an individual, eligible under state and federal law to purchase and possess a firearm, without a state issued license. 

Bill filing ends on March 10th

**Notes of Interest

Legislative session in Texas is limited to odd-numbered years and begins, as per our state constitution, on the 2nd Tuesday in January.

Session began at noon on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017.   Bills began being filed in November after the 2016 general election.   Early filing, before session begins, is often done for tactical purposes and is not considered to be a “leg up” on the legislative process.   Speaker Joe Straus was re-elected unanimously by all House members in a record vote.

Bill filing ends on March 10th and Committee hearings (the next step) go into full swing.

The bill number links will take you to the as-filed text of the bill published on the state website.  Underlined words indicate “new language” and stricken words indicate words being deleted.  Laws that impact Texas gun owners are sprinkled through many forms of existing code including, and not limited to the Penal Code, Wildlife Code, Civil Practices and Remedies, Government Code, or Local Government Code to name a few.

 

 

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