This last legislative session heralded a massive change in gun laws of the Lone Star State. The two biggest: permitted open carry (allowing those with a concealed handgun license to openly carry) and campus carry (allowing licensed concealed carry holders to carry on college campuses). While gun rights activists have been rejoicing, those on the other side of the political spectrum have been chomping at the bit to roll back and restrict these changes.
As the 2017 legislative session nears, KXAN reports that 37 gun control bills have already been filed, with predictable goals. Two of the proposals that most directly attack these latest changes to firearms laws come from State Rep. Rafael Anchia (D – Dallas). The first would allow individual publicly funded universities to opt-out of campus carry just as private universities can. That’s exactly what the gun control proponents with Gun Free UT have been demanding for the last two years.
The second Anchia-authored proposal would allow cities with populations greater than 750,000 people to pass ordinances prohibiting open carry within city limits. Pennsylvania uses a similar system, allowing “first class cities” (which only includes Philadelphia) to tailor some of the state-wide laws to suit their specific needs.
In Texas, this proposal would allow Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin to opt out of open carry. The concern, of course, is that this proposal would set the precedent that certain cities could be exempted from other state laws, allowing them to impose their own stricter gun control laws. That would create a patchwork of confusing and possibly contradictory laws such as exist in Illinois.
The good news for Texans who care about the RKBA is that with a 99 to 50 GOP advantage in the house (not to mention a 20 to 11 advantage in the senate), Anchia’s bills don’t figure to go anywhere anytime soon. Still, the fight to defend and extend Second Amendment rights is a constant one. The forces of civilian disarmament never sleep. Neither should those for whom gun rights is a priority.