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Reader DH writes:

In a remarkable coincidence, if you believe them — which I will go on the record to say that when it comes to Texas legislature, I do not — last night SB11, Campus Carry by Birdwell and SB17, Open Carry by Estes, were referred to the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, just hours after the TTAG article posted and people started emailing their elected officials . . .

The SB17 language is virtually identical to Phillips’ HB910. The big difference being the amendment which prohibits the act of carrying as justification to stop and ask for a concealed carry license. This is the amendment which many have surmised inadvertently allows Constitutional Carry.

I’ve heard many takes on this amendment and that it is the real reason for the delays. I don’t personally buy into it, but won’t rule it out completely. Some say it was intentionally added/or allowed to kill the bill because there would be resistance from law enforcement. I believe it was an honest but opportunistic move to prevent stop-and-frisk searches of open carriers by police in the urban centers. Either way, it has been met with mixed reviews.

So what’s next for the bills? First they will get a public hearing…yes, again…then, Chair Phillips and Rep. Fletcher (or another member) may sponsor them and push them through a floor vote. If that can be done without amendment, to a successful vote, they will have passed both houses in identical language and be good to go to the Governor’s office. If they don’t and either is amended, then they must be sent back to the Senate for another vote before it can go to Governor Abbott. For open carry, passing SB17 without amendment would eliminate the stop to check for a license verbiage, and may reduce some of the resistance.

The other possibility is that the Senate takes up HB910 and refers it to committee. The majority is a little farther right, so it has been considerably easier to get bills through the Senate than the House of late. But as of last night, HB 910 had not been referred and HB937 has not had a House floor vote.

So what’s the bottom line? This movement is good, whether coincidence or not. But the battle is not over until the bills are on Gov. Abbott’s desk. With the number of unsettled issues left to address this session and the battles to come, the People of the Gun must keep the pressure on their elected reps to keep this moving.

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  1. The big difference being the amendment which prohibits the act of carrying as justification to stop and ask for a concealed carry license. This is the amendment which many have surmised inadvertently allows Constitutional Carry.

    …which is silly. The amendment simply keeps the pending legislation in line with case law (US v. Black, IIRC?), which states that merely carrying a firearm, where it is lawful to do so, does not constitute reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity.

    • Yeah, that’s like saying we also have unlicensed CC, since a cop can’t stop you because you MIGHT be carrying. OC without the permit would still be illegal, and when the cop does find out, the penalties remain. I’m not sure I like the idea anyhow, there needs to be some kind of control. Perhaps we should have a requirement for a holster, the idea of someone openly carrying a handgun around in his hand and a cop not being able to inquire WTF sort of turns me off. OTOH, so does the idea of cops hassling every person they see with a gun.

      • …the idea of someone openly carrying a handgun around in his hand and a cop not being able to inquire WTF sort of turns me off.

        A carried handgun is holstered. A handgun in the hand is being wielded, not carried.

        A gun in the hand constitutes reasonable suspicion that it is being used, and would certainly justify a police officer to investigate.

      • Carrying a handgun openly in the hand will get the person arrested for brandishing unless they can legally articulate a self defense need of defensive display (Section 9.04) or the immediate need for deadly force in self defense Section 9.32.

      • Larry – “Perhaps we should have a requirement for a holster, the idea of someone openly carrying a handgun around in his hand and a cop not being able to inquire WTF sort of turns me off”

        Please tell me you don’t own any guns.

      • The pending OC bills already indicate that a holster is required. Part of the early debate on that point centered on the type of holster (open, retention, hip/shoulder, etc.) and whether additional training on retention holster use would be required; but a holster of some kind was always part of the deal.

    • The amendment was originated by Rep Dutton (D-Houston), and supported by mixed bag of Reps across party lines. This is my opinion of how it played out:

      Dutton represents the 5th Ward of Houston, heavily African-American and Hispanic, as well rural/industrial mix areas of NE Houston/Harris Co. He is a big civil rights supporter and many of his actions are in response to the events in Ferguson, Baltimore, etc. I believe he seized the opportunity to prevent the police from stopping and frisking his constituents on the basis they “looked like they were carrying”. I watched the floor vote; he sold it as a means of keeping OCers from being harassed.

      I think his move was pretty slick. But the unintended consequence was when the anti’s saw it as back door constitutional carry…ignoring the fact it was sponsored by one of their own…just one who was smart enough to hedge his bets and get something he wanted because of an ideological overlap.

      I’m still not convinced this is the reason the bills have been sidelined. I believe that they are one of the touchstones in conflict between the houses and GOP factions.

    • And of course, it’s totally unheard of for a police officer to make up a reason to stop and interrogate a “suspicious” individual. This amendment doesn’t really do anything to stop a cop from harassing a legal OCer, it just means he’ll have to be a little more creative when asked the reason for the stop.


      • So, you’d similarly be okay with a police officer pulling you over every time you drive, just to verify that you have a valid driver’s license?

        The amendment in question doesn’t create implicit constitutional (i e. unlicensed) carry any more than police officers not being able to detain motorists merely to check their licenses creates implicit unlicensed driving.

        • There are some misconceptions I’ve read in some of these posting regarding what law enforcement can and cannot do in Texas.
          First, driving is a privilege not a right and a law enforcement officer is within their authority to stop you while driving for no other reason than verify your license is current. Log onto TXDOT and verify for yourself.
          If applicable when the final bill is passed members of The Thin Blue Line will hassle you so much the intent is to eventually have you give up displaying a handgun and go CC.
          My suggestion . . . carry PRUDENTLY. Just as is says in Texas traffic law you are required to drive prudently regardless the maximum posted speed. So regardless the “firearm law”, use common sense and prudence and we’ll all get along.
          But, brandishing/displaying a long gun firearm while walking up and down a city street or into an established merchants business is BS and don’t quote me Texas law please, you’ll get exactly the attention you seek.
          Carry On!

  2. I bet the editorial boards at the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chron, etc, etc, would have kittens if someone proposed a statute that said any time the cops observe someone driving a car they could summarily stop them to see if they had a driver’s license.

  3. “The SB17 language is virtually identical to Phillips’ HB910. The big difference being the amendment which prohibits the act of carrying as justification to stop and ask for a concealed carry license. This is the amendment which many have surmised inadvertently allows Constitutional Carry.”

    I guess, as an honest citizen, I never thought about that perspective before. In Virginia, we have permitted CC and unrestricted OC. Though there are no provisions preventing LE from using the simple act of carrying as a reason to stop, however, a number of lawsuits have succeeded in causing our AG to put out a policy memo to basically put an end to the practice. So, all that being said, I guess one could consider that as essentially providing an affirmative defense to being stopped, for no other cause, to either CC without a permit or OC as a prohibited person. Interesting… But it seems the best way to end the controversy completely is simply follow the Constitution and stop infringing on our natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected rights.

    • As a Virginian, can you confirm or deny that the official group of 72 Virginians who meet each jihadidiot are OCing to make their mistake obvious, or do some keep the element of yet another unpleasant surprise to entertain them?

      • Larry – Well, since you ask, I should thing the answer would be oblivious. Since Virginia is for lovers, the simple answer would be that there are no Virgins in Virginia. But, should such a calamity OC-cur, surely a southern gentleman like yourself, would know, that a lady never exposes her wares.

  4. But the battle is not over until the bills are on Gov. Abbott’s desk.

    Wrong. The battle is not over until the bills are signed, enacted, and actually respected by the community, including law enforcement.

  5. I would bet other firearms groups also contributed to the response. The NGAR, the NRA, Texas specific groips, all likely e-mailed members in their groups. Some people belong to all the gro

    • “Your website on the IT (computer) side is very poor”

      How so, hotshot?

      Are you volunteering your vastly superior skills for free to improve TTAG?

  6. Thank you TTAG, I am not from TX, but, like everyone else posting here, I can ‘see it from here.’

    Thank you again.

  7. Or maybe the Texas legislature is responding to my comment on yesterday’s article: if they don’t pass licensed open carry, Texas gun rights advocates can sue to strike-down Texas’ prohibition on open carry and are virtually guaranteed to prevail.

  8. Please don’t forget about campus carry. I really want to see that in my lifetime. We’ve come very close before, and I don’t want to see it fail again.

        • Like I said, there’s risk. It would pass the Senate. There is less support in the house, plus it will have to get to a floor vote, through Straus, and then every Dem will try to amend the amendment, and TMF and Canales will try to delay with points of order…anything and everything to run the clock out. In this case the Dems don’t have to defeat the bill, just keep it from passing.

  9. Perhaps the attempted attack in Garland will provide some impetus for the legislature to cut through the usual BS and actually pass a law allowing Texas citizens to better arm themselves.

  10. The “Texas Legislature Online” will give you the conduit to contact your elected state represenativies – both Senate and House – in moments.

    Whatever message you feel is appropriate may be submitted; my own looked like this:

    Dear (Represenative/Senator and their real name),

    On behalf of myself, my family, and other concerned Texans, I would like to urge you to reach across the aisle, and work to bring SB 17/HB 910 (permitted open carry) as well as SB 11/HB 937 (Campus Carry) out of limbo, through committees, and onto the floor for a vote.

    I believe these bills are important to all Texans, and will be watching to ensure my elected representatives in the legislature are working hard to keep these important bills from languishing and being left behind in this legislative session.


    CGinTX (of course, a real name should be used here)

  11. I called the my Tx state reps in both houses yesterday and called Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s office twice. Each side was blaming the other side for the bill’s being held up.
    Such a cluster-*%#€.

    I lost more respect for Texas politics yesterday.

  12. This afternoon HB910 was referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee…

    Again, I don’t believe in coincidences…something got these moving again.

  13. While I don’t disagree with the amendment, really it is not much different than a fishing or hunting license. Having lived as an outdoorsman in the state of Texas for all of my 45 years, I cannot count the number of times a game warden has asked to see my license based only on the fact that I was caught in the act of fishing, or I was in possession of a dead deer. There was no other probable cause or indication that some illegal activity was going on. Game wardens in Texas have never needed any reason to check for valid licenses. They can also search and inspect any fish or game animals ow have in your possession as well without a warrant. If they see antlers sticking up out of the bed of your truck, they can pull you over and check to see if you have a license it is tagged properly.

    As long as the officer acknowledges that my CHL permit is valid and says “have a nice day” as he/she leaves, I’m ok with him/her asking about it. I would rather see open carry pass now and not have that amendment cause it to fail. It can always be added later, just like Texas Labor Code Section 52.061 was after complaints that employers were preventing CHL holders from carrying to and from work.

  14. You’re not going to get open carry, permit or otherwise. Time will run out on the session, and you’ll get lots of words and finger pointing. You’ll vote again for the same fools that promised it, or for the replacement fool who promises it next time. Watch and see…….

    • Seems better than doing nothing at all and declaring victory through a failure to fight…

      I actually echo your sentiments. I simply support persistence in doing what it right no matter what, on top of it.

      The enemy knows no limits because they are stupid. They will vote to ban gravity and blame Republican’s and their evil gravity conspiracy every time they trip and fall.

      They have no idea when to quit. They’re too stupid to know better.

      We should perform the educated version of that dogged persistence.

  15. Joe Strauss is a RINO, he has the most liberal black in the Texas Legislature, Sefronia Thompson, schedule calendars. She will not schedule since she is against it. Nice try but I don’t see it going through. I have had a CHL for the 20 years it has been available. So I will continue to conceal carry when this does not go through.

  16. Look, I FEEL this issue is very simple. I have been a CC since 1996. OC for non-licensed holders is a bad idea and those who have taken the time to pay their dues, attend the required courses to obtain the CC license have the knowledge, proficiency, and sense to know whether or not to OC. I personally believe that OC is acceptable, have practiced it to a VERY limited extent in OK. The main issue here is OC vs. CC and the licensed carriers being PERMITTED to CC in places that sell alcohol without a “51” (IN TX). You get an OC person, licensed to carry in a place that sells alcohol, that to me is PROB CAUSE for a police officer to ASK for a license. I would be happy to produce it, unoffended. It is the OCs that don’t have licenses that really have no business carrying however; it is the only way they can protect themselves or their families because they aren’t licensed to CC except while driving a car.

    • What part of …shall not be infringed is difficult for you to understand?

      Unlicensed exercise of the natural right to keep and bear arms is constitutionally protected against infringement by the government. It really is a very simple concept.

      • Yes, it is a simple concept and you are correct. However the laws are still on the books and violating them can make one a felon. Until we get off our butts and elect real patriots to the various legislatures crap like the debacle in Austin will continue.

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