Legislative News

The Derek Ty Poe Acquittal Story

by Edwin Walker Law Shield

On June 8, 2017, a Jefferson County jury found Derek Ty Poe NOT GUILTY of the crime of disorderly conduct.  Derek Ty Poe was represented in this case by Edwin Walker and Emily Taylor, independent program attorneys for Texas Law Shield.  This case had been pending for 3 ½ years.  Derek Ty Poe, a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran, owned a store in Parkdale Mall in Beaumont, Texas, that sold firearms accessories and other tactical gear and clothing.

Although he did not sell firearms Derek Poe kept an AR-15 rifle in his store for the purposes of demonstrating many of the accessories that he sold.  He regularly took this rifle home each night for safety purposes.  On Saturday, December 28, 2013, Mr. Poe decided to leave his store early and secured his rifle on a sling across his back with the barrel pointed downward, as he did every night.  On this evening, upon exiting his store he ran into an acquaintance who was a part-time Parkdale Mall security officer.  The two talked and then decided to walk to the GameStop to browse for new video games.  Mr. Poe then walked through the mall towards GameStop while carrying his rifle.  The two men arrived at the GameStop and were inside the store for about 4 minutes when several Beaumont Police Officers descended upon them and one of them forcefully removed Derek Poe’s rifle from his back.  The officers told him that they had received “many” emergency calls from panicked individuals saying that there was a man with a gun in Parkdale Mall.  Mr. Poe said that he did not think that he was doing anything wrong because it was his Second Amendment right to wear, bear, and carry a rifle, and Parkdale Mall had never told him that he was not allowed to have his rifle in the mall.  The Beaumont PD confiscated his rifle and told him that they were going to conduct an investigation.  Mr. Poe was then left in the GameStop to complete his purchase of a video game.

Mr. Poe immediately began contacting the Beaumont Police about the return of his rifle and began to vent on social media about what had happened to him.  In response the Beaumont PD and the Jefferson County District Attorney filed charges against him on December 31, 2013.  The charge was disorderly conduct, for “intentionally or knowingly displaying a firearm in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.”

During the course of this litigation, this criminal statute was challenged as being unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.  This challenge was denied by the Ninth Court of Appeals in Beaumont.  When this case finally went to trial the disorderly conduct statute was again challenged as being unconstitutionally applied to Derek Poe.  In the event the jury had found him guilty, an appeal would have been mounted on this basis.

The Jefferson County district attorney’s office argued to jury that many people were terrified upon seeing Derek Poe and his rifle in Parkdale Mall, and that he only carried it to draw attention to himself.  However, the evidence showed that there was only ONE call to 911, which was from an off-duty Port Arthur police officer, and that the only witnesses were employees at the GameStop who were solicited for their statements against Mr. Poe by the Beaumont Police.   Further, contrary to the information disseminated to the media prior to trial, the 911 call did not describe anyone in an alarmed or panicked state, but instead showed that the off-duty police officer called because Derek Poe must have been “one of those guys I guess trying to make some type of point…one of those radicals.”  Fortunately, the jury saw through the prosecutions smoke and mirrors act and after deliberating for 10 minutes, found that Derek Ty Poe did not display his firearm for the calculated purpose to alarm anyone.  He was just a guy trying to buy a video game and take his rifle safely home for the night.  Derek Poe was reunited with his rifle on the day of the jury’s verdict, after 3 ½  years of being in police custody.


On Implementation

Open Carry and Campus Personal Protection

On Tuesday, January 26th, 2016, at 9:00a.m., the Senate State Affairs Committee heard invited testimony on the progress toward implementation of SB11, Personal Protection on College and University Campuses, and HB 910, referred to as Open Carry.

The Senate committee listened to reports from six university system chancellors from across the state: Renu Kator, University of Houston System, Lee Jackson from University of North Texas System, William McRaven from the UT System, John Sharp from the A&M System, Brian McCall from Texas State System, and Robert Duncan with the Texas Tech System.

Most of the chancellors reported their colleges to be on track with the attorney general’s opinions and with the legislative intent of the bill, most but not all.  Chancellor Duncan mentioned prohibiting licensees from “large venues” of students, beyond collegiate sporting event which prohibited in statute, faculty member’s offices, and dorms.   Hardly the intent of the bill.    Keep in mind the Legislature continues to monitor public universities.

SB 11, Personal Protection on College Campuses begins to go into effect August 1st 2016.

Then Senate State Affairs took invited testimony on the first 26 days of Open Carry.

The first witness to testify was Justin Wood, Chief Prosecutor, Major Offenders Division, Harris County District Attorney.   The population of Harris Co. is 4.5 million with 36,000 licensees.  This is the largest number of licensees by county in the state.   Mr. Woods reported so far no problems with open carry in the Houston area.  No licensee has been charged with a crime relating to HB 910.  Chief Luis Gonzalez, Texas Highway Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety told the committee he had “no stories to share” because nothing has happened.

Richard Briscoe with Open Carry Texas shared similar sentiments, so far-so good.  TSRA reminded the committee this was the experience Oklahoma and other states had reported when their licensing law removed the offense for failure to conceal.

Al Flores, General Counsel, for Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen & Jimmy Changas told the committee his restaurant chain did not post the PC 30.07 sign but instructed staff to ask licensees to cover up or leave.  The chain supports concealed carry but doesn’t allow exposed firearms.  One licensees insisted the staffer needed to call the manager because she was not the person “in authority”.  That was unfortunate and one out of 950,000.

Others invited to testify were Brantley Starr, Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel, Office of the Attorney General; Andrea Brauer, Texas Gun Sense; Anna Kehde, Texas Chapter of Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Michael Cargill, Owner Central Texas Gun Works, Antonia Okafor, SW Regional Director of Students for CHL on Campus, and Joan Neuberger, Professor of History, UT Austin and part of the steering committee for Gun Free UT.

An interim study simply gathers information.  There is no vote, no chance for adjustment to law/  An interim study generates recommendations and a report to the next legislative session.

Governor Greg Abbott signs HB 910-Open Carry at Red's Indoor RangeGovernor Greg Abbott signs HB 910-Open Carry at Red’s Indoor Range

HB 910  Licensed Open Carry

Frequently Asked Questions

And Bill Analysis

Our License to Carry (formerly called a CHL) took effect on January 1st 2016 and requires the state-issued license.  There are very few changes to existing law beyond the removal of the word “concealed” from statute but there are a few and licensees should become familiar with those changes.   HB 910 and all other  legislation impacting those with a handgun license including Texans and visitors from other states should refer to www.txdps.state.tx.us for more information as the Department of Public Safety updates their website.

We hope this bill analysis is helpful and answers most frequently asked questions regarding open carry of a handgun by a licensee in Texas.

Bill Analysis for HB 910-Licensed Open Carry
Frequently Asked Questions?

  • When will licensed open carry go into effect?
    January 1 2016
  •  Will I be required additional training or to get a new license, one that doesn’t say “concealed”?
    No, no additional training is required and after January 1st a renewed license will be for a handgun license. You now have a License To Carry.
  • Will there be changes in reciprocity with other states?
    No, Texans must follow other state’s laws, some of which allow open carry and some do not. Licensees traveling to Texas from states enjoying full reciprocity with Texas must follow our laws, as always.
  • Am I required to have a certain type of holster for my handgun if it’s all or partially exposed?
    Yes, statute requires a belt or shoulder holster for your handgun to be exposed, including in your vehicle. If you’re in your vehicle and your handgun is exposed it must be in a belt or shoulder holster or stored out of sight. There is no requirement for a retention holster, that’s at your discretion.
  • Can I be prevented access from any location while carrying an exposed handgun?
    Yes, in order for private property owners, not listed as prohibited in current law, to prohibit access to a licensee with an exposed or partially exposed handgun, the location may post PC 30.07 sign. This simply means concealed is okay and but exposed is not.  You could simply asked to leave.  Walking past a PC 30.07 sign is a class C misdemeanor but refusing to leave when you’ve been asked to do so is a class A and could cause the loss of your license.
  • If you are asked to leave, do so immediately. 
    Note: If a business wants to prohibit all licensees, they will give “effective notice” and likely post both PC 30.06 and PC 30.07.  You will also notice a slight language change to PC 30.06.    NO exposed handguns are allowed on the grounds or any portion of a college campus, only licensees carrying concealed.

Legislature’s bill analysis for HB 910, the version of the bill signed by Governor Greg Abbott. TSRA and NRA were part of the bill signing ceremony at Red’s Indoor Range in Austin, TX. Thank you, Governor Abbott!

Legislative Session: 84(R)
House Bill 910
House Author: Phillips et al.
Effective: See below Senate Sponsor: Estes et al.

Previous law provided for a licensing scheme to carry a concealed handgun under certain circumstances. House Bill 910 amends the Alcoholic Beverage Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Education Code, Election Code, Family Code, Government Code, Health and Safety Code, Labor Code, Local Government Code, Occupations Code, Parks and Wildlife Code, and Penal Code to authorize a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun. The bill decreases the penalty for a license holder trespassing with a concealed handgun to a Class C misdemeanor and creates a Class C misdemeanor offense for a license holder trespassing with an openly carried handgun. The penalty for these trespassing offenses is enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor if the trespasser ignores verbal notice that the person may not enter or remain on the property with a handgun. The bill makes it a Class A misdemeanor offense for a handgun license holder to carry a partially or wholly visible handgun on or about the license holder’s person and intentionally display the handgun in plain view of another person on the premises or certain streets, walkways, driveways, or parking areas of a public, private, or independent institution of higher education.
House Bill 910 takes effect January 1, 2016, except that the provision set to expire on September 1, 2019, relating to the fee for a mental health background check for a license to carry a handgun takes effect September 1, 2015, and an identical provision takes effect September 1, 2019.   Bill Summary


  Removal of Improper PC 30.06 Signs

SB 273 by Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and Representative Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) passed this session which enables a licensee or any citizen of this state to file a complaint with the Attorney General to remove PC 30.06 signs or signs designed to prohibit licensees from public property such as libraries, appraisal district buildings, or school parking lots.

Please review the bill analysis to understand what steps a citizen can take to cure a local problem.

Remember PC 46.035 allows an entity to post any governmental meeting off-limits; however, law does not include the premises of a governmental meeting to be posted which means the entire building.    No PC 30.06 signs are posted at the Capitol and licensees carry into the Capitol and into committee hearings without problem.

Again, use this Link for the process for filing a complaint~!


Governor Greg Abbott signs HB 910-Open Carry at Red's Indoor Range

Governor Greg Abbott signs HB 910-Open Carry at Red’s Indoor Range in Austin on June 13th 84th Session of the Texas Legislature 2015 Legislative Session

Successes in Austin

SB 473 by Sen. Charles Perry and by Rep. John Frullo-repeals PC 46.05 (c) dealing with “defense to prosecution” if the class 3 device is fully registered with BATFE.  Click links for most recent action, text and bill history.  This bill has been signed and will take effect on Sept. 1 2015

HB 910 by Rep. Larry Phillips and by Sen. Craig Estes-licensed open carry of a handgun. Click on links to read most recent action, text, and bill history.  HB 910 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2016 at the request of DPS due to 4th re-certification of CHL instructors plus the need to update websites and printed materials.  Governor Abbott will sign HB 910 and has 30 days past the end of session to officially act or bills become law without being signed. 

SB 11 by Sen. Brian Birdwell and Rep. Allen Fletcher-Allows CHL (no open carry) to carry on most college and university campuses.  Private colleges can move to opt-out with theirs building and property with the exception of the parking lot by posting PC 30.06.  Public colleges, with input from students, faculty and staff, may restrict certain sensitive and mixed usage locations and post those specific locations PC 30.06. Colleges and universities have full control over “gun storage” requirements for students who live on campus.

Colleges and Universities are required to provide, during even numbered years, the Texas Legislature with a list of the locations and reasons for the prohibitions. SB 11 takes effect for 4 year colleges in August 2015 and the effective date for two year colleges is 2017.  Passed and Signed by Governor Abbott

SB 273 by Sen. Donna Campbell and Rep. Ryan Guillen- Creates a process to require the removal of a PC 30.06 sign from certain governmental property and a significant fine for failure to do so. Signed on June 16th.  Takes effect Sept. 1, 2015

SJR 22 by Sen. Brandon Creighton and by Rep. Trent AshbyProposed constitutional amendment the right to hunt and fish, an amendment to the Texas constitution to protect our hunting and fishing heritage for future Texans.   Passed, signed and will now appear as Proposition 6 on the November 3rd general election ballot.  For voter registration and early voting information-Click here.

***Again, SJR 22 will be listed on the November 3rd General Election ballot as Prop 6.    Mark your Calendar.  The work is not done!

TSRA Opposed Bills–All Defeated.

HB 2405 by Rep. Poncho Nevarez-Would create a uniform “no gun” sign with wording and graphics to target handgun licensees.  This bill was stopped by TSRA.   Thank you, Chairman Phillips.

SB 256 by Sen. Rodney Ellis-Relating to an offense for the unlawful possession or transfer of a large-capacity magazine.   Did not receive a hearing!

SB 257 by Sen. Rodney Ellis-Relating reporting a lost or stolen firearm, creating an offense with criminal penalties. Did not receive a hearing!

SB 258 by Sen. Rodney Ellis-Relating to creation of offenses concerning firearm sales at gun shows. Did not receive a hearing!

SB 259 by Sen. Rodney Ellis– Relation to criminal history background checks for all firearm transfers. Did not receive a hearing!

In Conclusion

Session ended on June 2nd.




 Legislative Session Is Off And Running


January 20015

As per our state constitution, the Texas Legislature meets for about five months during odd-numbered years.   The occasional special session, lasting one month, is added on at the end by the Governor.   Odd years are Legislative years.

Session is called to order the second Tuesday in January and begins like a slow moving freight train.  It takes weeks to organize, elect the Speaker of the House, vote on House or Senate rules, assign committee chairmen to the various House and Senate standing committees, and begin assigning bills to those committees.

In the meantime bills can be pre-filed as early as the day after the general election.    Bill numbers are assigned in order of filing and some believe the bill number adds to the luck or to their strategy, such as HB 1776.

TSRA has never stopped working for Texas gun owners.   An interim study was held at TSRA and NRA’s request in the Senate on open carry.  This was a first-time opportunity for this issue to be discussed before Texas Senators.  Thank you’s go to Senator Craig Estes, chairman of Agriculture, Rural Affairs, and Homeland Security.   Committee members included Sen. Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) recently elected to the office of Comptroller,  Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen).   Invited witnesses included Tara Mica with NRA, myself, and C.J. Grisham with Open Carry Texas.   Mom’s Demand and another opposing groups testified also as well as 30 or more individuals, most who testified were in favor of open carry.

As early as last spring, I met with the Speaker’s office to discuss 2015 strategy after Rep. George Lavender (R-Texarkana) lost his bid for reelection during the March primary election.  Rep. Lavender was in office for two sessions and filed open carry legislation twice.   It was finally heard in committee in 2013 but there was no vote and the measure failed to move.

A new bill author and a new strategy, House and Senate, was discussed with a plan to quickly move the issue forward and secure the best possible outcome.

Hunting issues are of concern this session.  Texas is growing in population and protecting hunting rights moves to the fore-front.

Our legislative agenda is already long and still developing.   Last session we were able to pass 9 out of 13.   While 9 is very good, especially when other states actually lost ground; it wasn’t good enough.   No good gun-bill left behind!

It takes 2/3s of Senate to vote to discuss any piece of eligible legislation, once it’s passed in a Senate committee.  Two-thirds of 31 senators means 21 must vote to allow a bills to move to the senate floor for debate.  We now have 20 Republican Senators.  Either the rule changes in January or there’s a new spirit of cooperation, all in the hands of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.


067First Annual Two-Gun Match for the TSRA-PAC Held Saturday, Sept. 20th

September 25, 2014

Travel north on I-35W through Fort Worth and five miles past Texas Motor Speedway, exit onto FM 1171 and take a left.  In less than half a mile you’ll see signs to Quail Creek Range, turn right.   Chris Raney’s business and range, Proactive Defense,  is part of Quail Creek.

A good turn-out for a first-time event would have been twenty-five shooters.  That was not the case.  Fifty shooters signed up and shot the course of fire. More attended to buy t-shirts and tickets for the drawings or simply to watch a few rare and expensive machine guns plus not-so-rare semi-automatic handguns and rifles shoot an interesting match on a hot, humid day in Texas.

The match was the brain-child of TSRA member Dale Hendrickson.  Together with Chip Andrews of DFW Armory and Chris Rainey of Proactive Defense and a host of range staff and volunteers, this first time event was a huge success bringing in nearly $5,000 PAC donations and membership renewals and upgrades.   A good time was had by all!

Drawing Donations were provided by SilencerCo, Aero Precision Triggers, DFW Armory, Western Sport, Storrie Parachute Works, books from Warren Conrad (Author), and Jesse James Firearms Unlimited.



Chris Cox Says NRA Supports All forms of Carry Plus an Apology

 June 4, 2014 06:24

The link above is from NRA News. Chris Cox, head of NRA-ILA, the legislative arm of the National Rifle Association offers an explanation plus an apology to Texans for a “poor word choice” in May 28ths alert to membership.

Cox goes on to say California’s recent shooting tragedies occurred in a state with “universal background checks” and other gun control state laws.



The Day After the Primary Runoff

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 07:37

After a decade of service as the Texas Lt. Governor, David Dewhurst will step down from that office. The office of Lt. Governor is by far the most powerful position in Texas Government. Yes, much more powerful than Governor. As the president of the State Senate, this position requires a statesman who is skilled at bringing giant egos to the table and getting the most for the people of Texas. The Texas Senate holds the keys to ultimately passing any legisaltion; beit gun bills or budget.

Voters representing the Texas Republican Party have chosen Dan Patrick after a difficult and costly runoff. Dan Patrick has served as State Senator in Harris Co. since 2007 as the chairman of the Education Committee. He currently serves on Redistricting, Criminal Justice (hearing bills of interest to gun owners), Finance, Higher Education, and Transportation committees. Grades and Endorsements will be published at www.tsrapac.com

Voters representing the Texas Democratic Party have chosen Leticia Van De Putte from San Antonio. Van De Putte served in the Texas House from 1990 thru 1999. She was elected to the Texas Senate in 1999 to present. Her committee positions include chairman of Veterans Affairs & Military Installations,. She serves on the following committees: Business & Commerce, Education, and State Affairs.

Texas Senator Ken Paxton, the TSRA endorsed candidated for Texas Attorney General prevailed in the runoff.

Again for more information on these or other Primary Election races, Click the link to the Texas Secretary of State’s Election Night website

Preparing for the 2015 Legislative Session

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Texas Legislature meets in regular session for 140 business days, beginning the 2nd Tuesday in January, during odd years. We’re the only large, urban state that uses biennial sessions. In addition, our State House members and State Senators, including the Lt. Governor who is the president of the Senate, are paid $600 a month plus per diem for expenses. Their committment is almost “voluntary” and it continues to serve Texans well. Our Legislators want to work hard to get the business of the state taken care of and then go home.

During even numbered years, we have a chance to deepen relationships by helping those who have carried our bills and voted with gun owners on difficult issues. Plus we have an opportunity to lay the ground work the next session.

During 2013, TSRA worked on, supported, and passed a dozen pro-gun bills. Many dealt with streamlining our Texas Concealed Handgun License. Over the years there have been complaints that Texans were seeking other state’s concealed handgun licenses to use within Texas. It was time to review the reasons for this anomaly and “fix” what we needed fixing.

Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) had led this charge for several legislative session so he became the House author for a bill to lower the number of required classroom hours plus another to do away with renewal classes in favor of a complete online renewal process.

Others in both the House and the Senate did the same for Texas gun owners: Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster), Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia), Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), Rep. Allen Fletcher (R-Tomball), Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt (R-Lexington), Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas), Rep. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy). The list of those who successfully “carried our water” during the last session was impressive. A handful of bills didn’t make it far, namely Rep. Lavender’s Open Carry bill and the Campus Carry issue.

So in planning for 2015, the place to start is with analysis on “how-come and why” issues didn’t make it to the finish line.

The Texas legislative process is complicated. It’s way more than filling up a hearing room with compelling testimony and the largest number of witnesses “wins”. We work to explain, pre-qualify, and pre-sell the issues we hope to push across the finish line.

That’s what’s happening right now, behind the scenes.

I’m attending fundraising events, speaking across the state to all kinds of folks, and the message is to explain that TSRA members pay the only full-time, pro-gun lobbyist in the state. I’m blessed to work with a very capable NRA lobbyist but she covers 3 additional states, including New Mexico. The New Mexico session overlaps the middle of our Texas Session.

Members, your gifts to the PAC, keeping up your membership, and then voting when the time comes for pro-bun, endorsed candidates is the power in Texas!

Keep the faith and thanks for being a TSRA member.

By the way, that new website will happen but it’s like watching paint dry!


About The Author

Alice Tripp is TSRA’s lobbyist. She was hired in 1998 as her predecessor, Doc Brown retired. Alice represents Texas gun owners and hunters before the state legislature. She lives on a farm in Bastrop County with Santa Gertrudis cattle and other critters.

During session she’s always in the Capitol and always available to ask or answer questions regarding TSRA’s legislative agenda and gun rights in Texas.

During even-numbered years when there is no legislative session, Tripp works to elect or reelect pro-gun candidates at the legislative level and always to promote TSRA’s legislative agenda.