“The Texas Legislature starts voting on a large number of bills this week, and one proposal that might be on the Senate floor as early as Monday would allow Texans with concealed handgun licenses to carry their firearms in full view,” amarillo.com reports. The bill should be a slam dunk. “I am very confident the Senate will pass the bill and we look forward to making it at the discretion of the licensee whether he is to carry concealed (or) open,” state Sen. Craig Estes said in reference to his Senate Bill 17. “Two years ago they did this in Oklahoma, and for the sheriffs this has been a non-event, no problems.” And for those of you who need a reminder which party supports gun rights and which doesn’t . . .
The upcoming vote is expected to be strictly or mostly along party lines; all or most Republicans in the Senate and later in the House are expected to vote for the open carry bill and all or most Democrats are expected to vote against it . . .
“My hope is that we have a true discussion and debate and not preconceived ideas because there may be things that we can do to those bills, like an opt-out provision or even in an opt-in provision,” [Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, above] said. “We ought to have a real discussion and not just preconceived ideas.”
State Sen. Judith Zaffirini — who as a member of the Senate State Affairs Committee voted against the open carry and campus carry bills on Feb. 12 — said she is hopeful her Republican colleagues will agree to a dozen amendments she filed so that both proposals can have bipartisan support.
“If crucial amendments were added to those bills, I can vote for them,” Zaffirini, D-Laredo, said. “For open carry, I can possibly vote for it if we see every municipality has the opportunity to opt in or opt out.
“You know, we talk about local control and local option and you see, in some municipalities in the rural areas it might be all right. In small farming communities, that’s OK. … But do you want open carry in downtown Houston or in the border?”
Yes? Yes! Governor Abbott has already declared his intention to sign any open carry bill that lands on his desk. This one allows residents holding a license to carry from a state with reciprocity with Texas to open carry in the Lone Star State. Crucially, it also include a new 30.07 sign which private businesses may post to ban open carry – and only open carry – on their premises, as follows.
A) a card or other document on which is written language identical to the following: “Pursuant to Section 30.07, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with an openly carried handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a handgun that is carried openly”; or
(B) a sign posted on the property that:
(i) includes the language described by Paragraph (A) in both English and Spanish;
(ii) appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
(iii) is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public at each entrance to the property.
Although it never had much of a chance, a bill for permitless or Constitutional Carry died early on in the legislative session, not helped by an “invasion” of Rep. Poncho Nevarez’s state house office. Campus carry had more of a chance, but it too fell afoul of cries of foul play and organized opposition.
Baby steps. Watch this space for the eventual ‘Open Carry in Austin’ series.