Don H writes:
Barring any special sessions, which Governor Abbott has suggested are not planned, the Texas 84th Legislature is a wrap. With the Governor signing HB910 and SB11 into law today, Texas will soon be a licensed open carry and concealed campus carry (with some restrictions) state. So how did gun owners fare overall? Let’s look at the numbers . . .
There were a total of 6276 bills introduced in the House and Senate (11356 if you count congratulatory and other resolutions). Of those 6276 bills, 1323 passed and were sent to the Governor. To date he has vetoed four. By my count, the legislature considered 33 firearms or hunting-related bills. They broke down roughly like this:
- 4 for licensed open carry
- 2 for constitutional carry
- 5 involved either easing restrictions on places to carry or allowing someone who inadvertently brought a gun to the airport to leave without penalty
- 5 would have negated or established state supremacy over federal firearms laws
- 6 which reduced requirements or fees, expanded privileges or gave exception to certain groups to carry, qualify with or purchase firearms
- 2 involving hunting
- 1 use of force
- 2 regarding CHL licensing (minimum age and minimum caliber)
- 5 that would create restrictions (Mag size, universal background checks, blah, blah, blah…)
- 1 that would make it okay for a kid to chew a pop tart into the shape of an L or gun….
Of those 33 bills (by my count), seven passed and went to Governor Abbott’s desk. So all in all, with a 21 percent pass rate, gun bills averaged pretty much the same passing rate as all other bills. Given that several of the firearm-related bills (as well as general bills) were duplicates or had companion bills in both houses, that’s not too shabby, since they passed through a system designed to kill bills.
In addition to HB910 Licensed Open Carry and SB11 Campus Carry Lite, the legislature passed:
- HB554 – Which allows persons who have inadvertently brought a firearm into the secured area of an airport to leave without penalty.
- HB1376 – Which reduces CHL fees and duplicate qualification requirements for corrections and parole officers.
- HB2135 – Allows retired and families of deceased LEOs to purchase their duty sidearm. This has already been signed by Governor, effective 9/1/15.
- SB273 – Prohibits government entities from wrongfully excluding licensed firearm carriers from public buildings.
- SB473 – Basically cleans up the law on NFA items to follow Fed law. Already signed by Governor, effective 9/1/15.
Congratulations Texas! You have five hundred days or so until next session. Choose your reps carefully, pick your battles and start laying the groundwork now for the 85th Legislature. The battle continues.