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.