Rachel Malone of Texas Firearms Freedom writes:

Constitutional Carry in Texas is being spun out like an episodic drama. Depending on your news source, you may be hearing that it’s in a victorious ship sailing through calm seas. Or that it’s dead in the water. Neither report is accurate, although there’s a grain of truth in each. But before we speculate on the season finale, let’s do a quick review of the episodes that have already aired. Previously on Texas Gun Law Drama . . .

Episode 1: HB 375 is filed – The Constitutional Carry Act of 2017. It repeals the ban on carrying handguns without a government permission slip. Effect: if you legally possess it, you may carry it. The episode ends with cheers from Lady Liberty herself. I’m also pretty sure I heard the Alamo’s stone walls crying out in joy.

Episode 2: HB 1911 is filed – It’s touted as “Permitless Carry.” It maintains the ban on carrying handguns without a License to Carry, but adds an exception: people who meet the stringent requirements to apply for a license may carry without a permit. The episode ends with a question mark: does this mean guilty until proven innocent?

Episode 3: Pressure builds! – Supporters of HB 375 point out the flaws in HB 1911. Legislators write a new version of HB 1911 that drops many of the reviled requirements, such as prohibiting Texans charged with (but not convicted of) a misdemeanor from carrying without a permit.

Episode 4: HB 375 and HB 1911 (the latest version) receive a committee hearing on the same day – Activists begin arriving at seven in the morning. Many stay until the hearing is over, some 13 hours later. Over 75k petitions in favor of HB 375 are wheeled into the hearing room. Some 165 witnesses drive to the Capitol to register in favor of HB 375 (compared to half that many for HB 1911). With this hearing, Constitutional Carry has come farther than ever before in Texas.

Episode 5: Chairman King tells the two bill authors to meet together and write a combined bill that he promises to pass out of Committee –  They successfully write a bill that many supporters of HB 375 would have supported. It would allow handgun carry without a license for those who are over 21, not felons, not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a handgun, and not a member of a criminal street gang.

Episode 6:  Chairman King decides NOT to pass that bill – He takes the original version of HB 1911 – with all those stringent requirements – and passes it out of Committee, intentionally leaving HB 375 to languish. King’s office is overwhelmed with calls from HB 375 supporters. King punts blame over to Attorney General Ken Paxton, who quickly hits the ball right back over to King, stating that he would have supported HB 375 if it would please the King to pass it. Apparently, it does not. King’s office turns a deaf ear to HB 375 supporters.

How will this end?

There are two possibilities for the next exciting episode:

1. Chairman King passes HB 375 out of committee TODAY
2. The House responds to pressure and replaces HB 1911 with the language favored by supporters of HB 375
There’s little doubt the Texas House of Representatives will pass some kind of Constitutional Carry bill. And then it’s off to the Senate for more drama: reconciliation with the House Bill.

One way or another, I’m confident Texas will pass Constitutional Carry. The question is, when? How many seasons of political maneuvering will it take? Will The Lone Star State pass a flimsy, ill-structured bill this session and spend 20 years fixing it, as they have with the convoluted LTC law? Or will they get Constitutional Carry right the first time?

If you want to avoid a disappointing season finale, I won’t tell you what to do. But I will tell you that Chairman King’s office number is (512) 463-0738, and his email address is phil.king@house.state.tx.us. I’m sure you can take it from there.

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16 Responses to Texas Constitutional Carry: The Saga Continues!

  1. What are these “stringent requirements” for applying for a CCW in Texas? I thought it was a shall issue state. and “stringent” is such a flexible concept. I mean, Hawaii is so stringent no one can meet them (same in San Francisco), D.C., NY and NJ are so stringent that only a few can meet them. Even in “virtual shall issue” parts of California, the requirements include up to 16 hours of training and possibly a shooting proficiency test.

  2. Just remember your stupid neighbors who needed a job don’t trust you, and it’s beginning to make us not trust you.

    NO > = Pigs.

  3. Just remember, the 2nd Amendment was to protect you from your stupid neighbors who needed a job that need to protect you.

    NO > = Pigs.

  4. Read the Bills, Mark. Phil King’s bill practically keeps me from carrying if I ate beans for dinner the night before. As it stands now, I feel like I need to contact my kindergarten teacher to give me a note as to my behavior to attach to an application. Kinda hard to do, since she was in her fifties and I’m now approaching sixty.

    My question – Did anything make it out of committee? I called Jonathan Strickland’s office, author of HB 375, and was told the bill had to be out of committee the day before, to be debated and voted on by the entire House. It sounded as if we won’t be getting anything close to Permit-less Carry until next Session….which meets every TWO years.

    BTW- I did find out that Phil King will be up for re-election, the Primary will be in March, just in case anyone wants to support a Republican challenger for his position.

  5. In my opinion, you constitutional carry guys are going to screw the rest of us. If constitutional carry passes without other changes to the law, we won’t be able to carry anywhere. Before open carry passed 30.06 signs were not very common. After open carry they more than doubled.

    Lowering the initial fee for a LTC isn’t going to help either. I’m already seeing licensed guys being irresponsible. As a group we’re going to lose the “cream of the crop” of law abiding citizens reputation.

    • Has that happened in any of the dozen or so states that currently have constitutional carry?

      Here’s the thing: if someone is a dipshit, Texas’ licensing process isn’t going to make them not be a dipshit anymore. It just makes them a dipshit with a couple hundred less dollars and a Saturday afternoon wasted learning how to navigate the maze of rules on where you are and aren’t allowed to carry.

  6. In my opinion, neither bill is going anywhere past calendars. As long as King and Joe Strauss are around, Texans can give up any chance of legitimacy as far as gun rights go.

  7. Exactly. Joe Strauss is a progressive RINO who is perfectly at home “governing” as a liberal democrat while campaigning as a small “r” Republican. That he repeatedly wins broad support within the “Republican” controlled legislature says a lot about the people who get elected to office as Texas Republicans.

  8. I don’t understand the attraction. Getting a license isn’t difficult. You have a take a class/pass a test on the very basics of concealed carry and use of force law. You have to prove you can hit the broad side of a barn. You have to let them check to make sure you’re not a criminal. That’s it!

    What will “constitutional carry” accomplish other than letting my idiot brother-in-law who’s too dumb to pass the test and too drunk to hit the broad side of a barn think it’s okay to carry a gun?

    • The only thing constitutional carry accomplishes is that it upholds and respects the Constitution that defines and governs this country, instead of allowing petty bureaucrats and corrupt politicians to decide how and when citizens can exercise their constitutionally-protected rights. But who needs that shit, right? After all, your brother-in-law is a drunk idiot with no self-control, so the rest of us just have to give up our rights, I guess.

    • It’s simply question of principle. Which other natural and constitutionally protected right requires licence, fees, mandatory courses, tests, background check etc?

      Good luck to Texas from Illinois where we need to get a licence before we can even touch a gun in store or buy a box of cartridges.

    • You’re right, ChrisB. Fact is, “Constitutional Carry” is an invented phrase designed to demagogue the issue….if you oppose it, then you’re an evil commie that hates the Constitution.

      Reading the actual 2ndA, you’ll see that it only says the right to keep and bear arms won’t be infringed. It doesn’t say a word about whether carrying or owning can be impacted by a state’s administrative law or if a screening can take place to weed out dangerous folks. It’s silent on those issues, intentionally, so that those issues can be taken up by the state. And if a state continues to recognize and abide by the 2nd A and not stand in the way of folks owning and carrying, but decides to screen for dangerous applicants, that’s not a infringement, it’s the States right since the 2ndA is silent on the issue. As Constitutionalists know, whatever the it clearly doesn’t not control or mention, always falls back to the States to handle and gives them the authority to do so.

      Supporters of CC would have you believe that if you have to pay a fee to get a CHL, your rights are being trampled. Really? So CC supporters must also be saying that a convicted murderer, bank robber or pedophile that just got out of prison, or even a nut job on anti-psychotic medication, should be able to CC and no LEO can walk up and ask “Hey man, see you carrying a M4 down the street. Any particular reason why?” CC supporters must logically respond “No! That’s stomping his rights in the ground!”, since the 2ndA also doesn’t speak to prohibiting convicted felons, crazy people or domestic terrorists from owning or openly carrying guns, either.

      And how does paying a small fee to ensure that a dangerous felon or insane wacko from carrying with no screening endanger our rights? It’s not like any other Bill of Rights issue hasn’t faced local fees, either? No, really? So everyone who has to pay a permit to march or hold a rally is being Constitutionally screwed? As are congregations that pay city fees to build a church? And the FCC can’t regulate who can get on a 50,000 watt radio station and blast a whole state? Of course they regulate these things for a variety of reason, including preserving public safety and preventing mass chaos.

      Again, the most pro-gun, conservative Supreme Court Justice of the last 100 years (arguably) was Antonin Scalia, and in his majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), stated that the 2ndA did not mean that one could carry any kind of weapon, anywhere, anytime, any place for any reason. Every right, including those precious rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, has a natural limit; if not we have chaos. The 1stA doesn’t allow you to scream ‘Fire!” in a crowded room, you can’t sacrifice virgins for your religion and the press can’t demand to be present in highly sensitive, top secret operations conducted by the military. Why? Because the right to speech, religion and the press have boundaries that are represented by the overall good and safety of the people at large.

      Allowing a felon, psycho, child rapist or eco-terrorist with a possible criminal record to buy and carry a handgun with no screening and allowing an LEO to check that person only AFTER a crime starts to occur, is NOT Constitutional Carry. It’s insanity. Likewise, preventing a felon, psycho, child rapist or eco-terrorist with a possible criminal record from buying and carrying a handgun by screening them is not trampling anyone’s 2ndA rights, it’s actually making the community safer.

  9. It should include even felons that have never used a firearm in the commission of a crime. Or where the felony was more than 10-20 years ago. According to the law in Texas, even a felon can legally own a firearm if after 5 years of completing their sentence that they have no other infractions of the law. Chapter 42 of the Texas code. So if I can legally have one in my home and on my property and on my vehicle, then why can I not carry. All my other rights have been restored, even voting.

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