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Reader Dan H. writes:

The Senate held the floor vote on the Senate committee substitute for Rep Phillips’ HB910. It started as expected, with the Dems using delaying tactics…basically throwing anything and everything against the wall to get something to stick. Attempted amendments this time revolved around reciprocity and attempts to tie it to the Waco biker incident, as well as rehashing the local opt-in/out nonsense, retention training, visible display of license, signage, and annual background checks. Fortunately, Sen. Estes, the Senate sponsor stuck to his guns and fended off attempts to add the eight Dem amendments intended to delay or derail the process . . .


But then things went strange, in the way it can only in the Texas legislature…Sen. Don Huffines (R) placed two amendments on the floor. First, amendment number 8 (constitutional carry), which he then withdrew to help ensure passage of the bill. Then, the train not only left the tracks, it left the atmosphere and started orbiting Planet Crazy.

He forward amendment 9 which would reinstate the “Dutton Amendment” language which prohibits police from stopping and questioning an open carrier simply for open carrying. You may recall this language was removed from the bill by the Senate State Affairs Committee, which sent a committee substitute bill to the floor as CSHB910.

This launched a heated debate between Huffines and Sen. John Whitmire which lasted for almost an hour and half as Whitmire tried to delay and derail. In a similar, but much more heated manner to what happened in the House, the Senate split along ideological lines, with the far right and far left forming a coalition in support of the amendment.

Make no mistake, the Dems, primarily Senators Royce West and Rodney Ellis, are not for OC, but view the amendment as protection for constituents in their primarily minority districts. Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed.

Essentially, select Dems were fighting FOR an amendment to a bill they were voting AGAINST.  The debate over Amendment 9 was suspended just after 3pm and postponed until 6pm so other business could be conducted.

When the floor action resumed, it was a continuation of the same, this time pitting Huffines against both Senators Whitmire (D) and Joan Huffman (R). Huffman, a former judge and chair of the Senate State Affairs committee, was responsible for stripping the Dutton/Rinaldi language from HB910. Both Whitmire and Huffman accused Huffines of endangering the lives of police officers and creating backdoor constitutional carry with this amendment.

Huffman attempted an amendment to the amendment which would increase the penalties for reckless or unlawful carry of a firearm, but it was withdrawn after Huffines called into question a parliamentary question regarding relevancy. After six hours of debate Huffines’ amendment passed 19-12. Not willing to let it go, Huffman attempted a second amendment to create an offense for knowingly open carrying without a license. This too was defeated, to keep the bill as clean as possible.

Sen. Brian Birdwell, author of the Campus Carry bill, declined to amend the bill with campus carry so it could move to the house cleanly. He expressed his confidence that his bill (SB11 sponsored by Rep. Allen Fletcher) will be passed by the house next week.

In the end, it passed on a vote of 20-11. Sen Ellis (D-Houston) voted for the bill as amended by Huffines on the second reading, as he put it, if this bad bill passes without it, racial profiling would increase. The wonders never cease….

It now goes back to conference committee to agree upon language. Since it comes back to the house with the same language it arrived with, it should be quick. Hopefully, this will be on the way to the Governor’s desk early next week.

You can’t pay for this kind of entertainment.

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43 Responses to Texas Open Carry Bill: The Saga Continues

  1. This is a separation of church and state issue. The state should only be involved when theft of life, liberty, or property occurs. Trying to prevent those things is the responsibility of self government and church government.

  2. So Huffman was a judge, huh? I guess that explains her mindless opinions, arrogance, domineering attitude, and open disdain for her peers representing “Joe Bob” (her words) out in the sticks. She was quite clearly making up her policy as she went along; I bet that amendment of hers was written on a friggin’ cocktail napkin. The best exchange was her and Mr. West, who basically called her out on the retarded abusive penalties she’d be bringing down on those most exposed to police scrutiny, and she basically just replied that prosecutors would choose not to screw over single black mothers caught carrying illegally. Right.

      • This monster would have made Ms. Allen a first degree felon (that’s 20 to life, kids) if she had her ‘druthers; she actually pitched that as a hypothetical earlier in the session.

    • I don’t know anything about Senator West, but I enjoyed his side of the exchange with Huffman. Don’t know anything about Huffman. From the evenings discussions, I can’t decide with which political party she probably self identifies. From the outside, I’d say Stateocrat.

      • Given his district, he’s likely a dyed in the wool Democrat ‘social justice warrior’ trying to attract as many state/federal bennies to the ‘hoods as possible. But still, it was clear the man was one of the more coherent and intelligent folks on display (either aisle), knew what he liked/didn’t like about the amendment and why, and easily steered Mrs. Huffman into foolery by forcing her to square her suggested penalties with similar crimes (unlicensed carry would be equivalent to armed robbery under her scheme, and she said she thought that was right). Mr. West rightfully argued that such tactics would be extraordinarily heavy handed and out of step with decades of policy, and would fall disproportionately on HIS constituents, and NOT Mrs. Huffman’s coddled ‘burbanites.

        The man is clearly smart and seeking principled stands for his voters’ interests; we just need to show him that liberalized gun policy is one, and that gun control is counter to his goals.

      • Huffman represents SW Houston, Richmond, Freeport area. The problem I have with her is that as a former judge and prosecutor, she presumes guilt. Whereas, (caveat with… in the US and not in some other parts of the world) I presume that the person carrying a gun is doing so lawfully, unless their behavior would lead me to think otherwise.

        West is a lawyer, with a strong liberal anti-gun background representing downtown and southern Dallas. I don’t agree with his politics, but he is well entrenched, popular and does his best to provide for his district. He knows how to turn a lemon into lemonade….he and Ellis let Whitmire get frustrated with Huffines and walk away, then pounced on Huffman when she tried to pile on.

        Most of the Senate Dems are from very solid blue districts and have been in the seat longer than their GOP peers. Thus, they know how to play the game pretty well and can work to get wins out of losses. On the GOP side, they’ve been killing themselves in primaries. So the turnover is higher and it shows.

  3. Sure hope ya’ll out in Texas get open carry with all this drama. It’s disqusting that you have to put up with this. Hopefully ya’ll get it without the SS “your papers please” attachment.

    • Hell we should have carry without a license, but the gun overlords at the NRA won’t allow it. It’s too much of a quid pro quo money maker for them to give up that golden goose.

      • Getting more than a little tired of hearing about “the gun overlords at the NRA”. If you don’t like the NRA don’t join it but until you are a voting member you cannot complain about what you “think” the NRA is doing. I’ve been a proud member for nearly 40 years. For the life of me I cannot fathom why you think the NRA is working against us.

        • Totally agree. The NRA plays politics, and politics isn’t fair, pretty, or truthful. It never has been, and never will be. They play to win, incrementally, the same way the antis restricted gun rights so much, because it works.

        • I do not have to be a dues-paying member of an organization to oppose it… Duh. By your logic I have to be a member of the Moms Demand in order to comment on their idiocy or call them out for their lies and deceptions.

        • While I agree people do mischaractarize the NRA, your logic is flawed. You say we can’t criticize their decisions without being a dues paying member. By that logic, I cannot criticize the democrats since I’m an independent.

          As we both know, both groups take actions that have far reaching implications that affect not only their members, but everyone else as well.

        • None of you get the essential point. True, you do not have to be a member to criticise. The point, though, is, if you feel that strongly about it then join the NRA and work to change it! Otherwise the original comment about the “NRA Overlords” was flawed. I have been a member for some 40 years and I get annoyed at the criticisms when we are working so hard to contain the antis.

        • I am not opposed to the NRA, but I am working to change it. I have dropped my membership and support Gun Owners of America. Many people think the power of NRA is in the money, but the real power is when they let me know of an undesirable person trying to get elected, and I will be sure to vote against him. Gun Owners of America helps to keep the NRA on the right track. When members leave and join GOA the NRA make take notice. Money makes a big difference. Again, NRA is good, but GOA is better.

      • Gun overlords of the NRA? Allow me just a moment to put on my waders; that bullsh1t is too deep for my regular shoes.

        • It is not entirely BS. If NRA had been working with Open Carry Texas, we might have gotten a better law.
          GOA was working to get constitutional carry, where is the NRA?

  4. Maybe because they make all that money over only “NRA certified instructors” being able to get you the permission slip (for your own damned rights!) from the govie to be able to protect yourself or your loved ones at any time. For a fee, of course. 17 million a year in Texas alone. Gun Owners of America ALL THE WAY. Maybe in the fifties the NRA was something to be proud of, no longer. Neal Knox had the opportunity when Reagan was in office to be instrumental in folding the ATF into the FBI, but he REFUSED. Kinda like if a doctor cured disease he would be out of a job, right? Had to keep that ATF bogeyman out there to justify the organization’s existence.

    • Neal passed up the opportunity to fold the ATF into a larger, more powerful crime syndicate whose impeccable reputation gives them total immunity from having their crimes taken seriously?

      Oh, the horror!

  5. @juliesa…Lt Gov says campus carry is going to pass…take it for what it’s worth.

    https://www.ltgov.state.tx.us/2015/05/22/lt-governor-dan-patrick-on-historic-passage-of-open-carry-bill/

    AUSTIN – Today, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick congratulated the Texas Senate for the final passage of Committee Substitute for House Bill 910 (CSHB 910) with a vote of 20 – 11.

    “More than two months ago, the Texas Senate approved similar legislation enhancing Second Amendment freedoms on a vote of 20-10,” said Patrick. “With time running out on this legislative session, the Senate has once again stood up for the Second Amendment to ensure law-abiding licensed Texans have the right to open carry.

    “While the Senate considered attaching ‘campus carry’ to this bill, Speaker Joe Straus has assured the Texas Senate that the House will approve a ‘campus carry’ bill in time to be approved by the Senate and sent to the Governor to become law before time runs out on the 84th Legislative Session,” concluded Patrick.

    • That’s fantastic, dh! Thanks!

      What an entertaining account of the senate’s doings today. It’s hard to imagine Sen Ellis voting for a gun bill.

  6. I got lost after the amending of an amendment to an amendment, and dropping the amendment’s amendment to ensure passage of the amended original bill.
    :rollseyes:

  7. In addition to these bills, I’d also like to see NFA shall sign passed. (Senate Bill 476) It passed the Senate and has been stuck in the House Calendars Committee for almost a month despite receiving favorable reports from the State Affairs Committee and the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee. It seems no one is talking about that.

    • Good luck on that front. We got it here in WV finally. It goes into effect in soon. Our law somewhat mirrors that of our neighbors in Kentucky. It requires the CLEO to sign off within 30 days, or send written notice of denial and state a valid reason. If the denial is unlawful or incorrect, the CLEO can be sued and forced to sign it by a judge.

      I don’t figure it’ll change much though. You gotta be really ballsy (or stupid) to sue the sheriff and not expect repercussions. It is WV after all…

  8. The expansion of liberty (in this case simply the affirmation of already existing liberty) always takes eons.
    The retraction of liberty though that makes it through in a few hours and politicians will forgo sleep and holidays to make sure it passes.

    That’s all anyone needs to know of how this nation operates and what it and the respective states thinks of us.

  9. So “Both Whitmire and Huffman accused Huffines of endangering the lives of police officers and creating backdoor constitutional carry with this amendment.”
    A backdoor to “constitutional carry”? A backdoor to something expressly forbidden to be infringed upon? Also I see that to be able to exercise this right, a subject first must receive permission from the overlords. I’m I missing something? Not that what they are arguing over isn’t better than what our overlords in Fl have come up with. But still….

  10. So, basically, we will go from concealed carry to whatever carry…

    All the same people who were carrying, would still be carrying.

    The Dem’s stall tactics are quite literally pointless.

    • Unless, of course all those so-called “OC Fanatics” have a point and the sight of openly carried guns helps make gun ownership culturally unremarkable and normalizes guns.

      That’s something grabbers would oppose tooth and nail. So maybe they think this would indeed be the result, and that explains their actions.

      • I think there is something to the normalization aspect. However, I wouldn’t hang my hat on it, either direction.

        It is capable of causing indifference, as well, panic and fear. Each person will have a unique reaction based on past experience, reinforced behavior, and verbal community: it’s subjective.

        • Even indifference is an improvement when it replaces opposition. And if otherwise slightly-nervous individuals get used to seeing guns carried without the predicted rivers of blood flowing , indifference likely will result.

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