By a margin of 79 to 63, The Texas house rejected concurring with the Senate on 84(R) HB 910. That’s the Senate version of the licensed open carry bill that the House originally sent to the Senate. The Senate stripped out an amendment barring police officers from stopping open carriers to question them about/examine their Concealed Handgun License (without any other indication that a crime was being committed), then added it back. But there were a few words that were slightly different. The vote today was whether to accept the Senate’s version, or to send it to Conference Committee to hammer out the differences. The House voted to reject accepting the Senate’s modified version, and sent it to Committee . . .
The move came after the police unions and organizations lit up the representative’s inboxes and phones and demanded that they change and remove the amendment. A lot of representatives responded by changing their votes from yea to nay.
However, as was pointed out to them repeatedly, what the police are asking for has already been ruled unconstitutional by the federal courts. At least twice, federal courts have ruled on this exact same issue and declared that stopping an open carrier to demand their papers is a 4th Amendment violation of the US Constitution.
So what we have, in effect, is that a bunch of representatives changed their vote to support the police’s claims that they want to be able to conduct unlawful searches of citizens, in defiance of the 4th Amendment. Despite a passioned plea by Rep. Dutton (the original author of the amendment) who made that very clear.
Licensed open carry in the Lone Star State is still alive. It could potentially be filibustered and die in committee, or it might not. We’ll know sometime by Sunday midnight. Governor Abbott could, potentially, call a special session and name HB910 as one of the items that he designates as a priority. Whether that WILL happen or not, remains to be seen.