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The House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety of the Texas Legislature (courtesy

TTAG reader DH writes:

The House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety of the Texas Legislature held hearing on HB910 (Open Carry) and HB937 (Campus Carry). Chairman Phillips, the author of HB910 limited public comments to 2 minutes, vice the normal 3, because of the number of people providing testimony. There were no invited witnesses, and the public commenters were a mix of representatives of various organizations on both sides of the issue, as well as number of private citizens. Chairman Phillips and Rep Molly White were the predominate pro-gun voices on the committee, with the Vice-Chair, Rep Pancho “Panic Button” Nevarez the primary antagonist of the pro-gun commenters . . .

I watched the morning session, but missed the first hour or so of the second session.  From the portions I saw, most of the testimony was what you would expect. The Moms, academics and liberal student organizations were there with the standard “blood will flow” emotional arguments with few or skewed facts. My personal favorite is the “guns on campus will suppress the free exchange of ideas and debate” justification…last time I checked, academia has done a pretty good job of squashing any opinions that run counter to its own.

Also noted was the MDA’s tactic of sending women who claimed to be gun owners into the fray, using the “I’m a mom and a gun owner, but…” line. A few of the antis tried to push the “opt out” option for local communities and universities. They’ve seized on the local control issue, because that’s another hot topic in the legislature right now. The pro-gun commenters were a mixed bag of those making the constitutional arguments, those using data to support their arguments and those with personal stories.

There were a couple of noteworthy exchanges, with the Chair taking the wind out of the Houston Police Dept’s retention argument and the Austin Police Dept’s contention that they wouldn’t be able to tell who the bad guy was. 

The most powerful, in my opinion was an ex-con.

His comment was basically that having spent 17 years in a Texas prison, he saw the evil that is out there and no one should be stripped of the right to defend themselves against it. 

A Fort Hood survivor testified that things might be different had he been carrying that day. Another gentleman, who testified that he was not a CHL holder and didn’t intend to become one, said he supported the bills because he wanted to make sure there were people with guns around just in case. 

 The most pathetic testimony (followed by the surprise of the day) came during testimony from a Mom’s rep. She quoted a Houston Chronicle article that claimed that the costs incurred by Medical Schools — $22 million claimed by MD Anderson in Houston specifically — for Campus Carry would divert money from cancer research.

It was Vice-Chair Nevarez, surprisingly, who challenged her claims and pretty much shut her down, explaining that the law as written prohibits guns from hospitals already and there shouldn’t be a need for elaborate infrastructure or training requirements. The Chair later revisited her argument, saying that those against the bill need to get over trying to hyper-inflate costs to kill a bill.  It’s an old trick and we see through it. 

Both HB910 and HB937 were left pending in committee. This doesn’t mean they’re dead. Chair Phillips has a habit of holding a bill for a week or so after the public hearing, before bringing it to a vote.  It’s going to go to the floor, and as long as Speaker Straus lets it get to a floor vote, Open Carry has enough co-sponsors alone to pass. Campus Carry may be harder. 

On the Senate side, Sen. Estes’ Open Carry bill formally passed the floor vote as amended today and was engrossed. Campus Carry vote in Senate was postponed.

Sent from my iPhone

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  1. They just need to pass the bill so the dems can read it later like the affordable care act.

  2. Open Carry External ID

    What if a significant number of non licensed people decide to open carry and perhaps engage in activities that would give license holders a bad reputation.

    What do you guys think of requiring an external ID (to be displayed next / near the handgun) in addition to the CHL (to be carried as currently required) when openly carrying?

    The external ID would be similar to a miniature license plate with large alphanumeric characters. DPS would create a website and app for smart phones where anyone can verify that the external ID number is valid and would provide basic information of the license holder, such as: race, eye color, age, height, weight, etc. Other information such as name, birth date, etc. would not be provided to protect the privacy of the license holder.

    People could create fake external IDs, but they can also create fake CHLs just like they create fake driver license. All the CHL holders I mention this to think its a bad idea.

    • You mean like a yellow Star of David or upside down triangle? Or perhaps a large R burned into the face? That’s never ended badly before, sound like a great idea….

    • Why did a scene from Treasure of the Sierra Madre just go through my mind?

      We have constitutional open carry in PA. So far no one has pulled a stunt like you suggest, unless you consider the peaceful protest against illegal municipal ordinances to be giving open carriers a bad name. I can’t think of a good reason for such visible identification.

    • Interesting. Many people drive without a license and without auto insurance. Many criminals have been carrying concealed gun(s) since before CHL was passed. I think a few years from now open carry will be rolled back somehow. Either by requiring some kind of “external ID” or allowing cities to ban it or doing away with it all together.

      • Since you are so eagerly begging for stricter government control of your life, can we assume that you are going to advocate that this concept be proven by requiring your own driver’s license and insurance information be tattooed on your forehead? That is the stupidest idea ever, and assumes that America is going to reverse its current course in order to move toward a dictatorship. Really dumb.

    • Dumbest idea I’ve read in quite a while. This isn’t about wanting to play cop with a toy badge, pal.

    • All those CHL holder you’ve mentioned this to who said it was a bad idea? They’re right.

    • How about open carry without having to beg permission first?

      Permit-less open carry is what should be the norm, and it sucks that Texas needs to settle for anything less.

      Why not just tattoo a barcode on the back of everybody’s neck at birth? Then the .gov can just scan you into the system on day 1, and anybody found not branded will be immediately arrested and detained.

    • How about we require all Muslims wear an external ID, so we can make sure they’re are registered and not terrorist. Wouldn’t want all the bad Muslims giving the good ones a bad name, so let subjugate… um, I mean ID them all.

    • “What do you guys think of requiring ” whatever.

      Not much, whatever you’re mumbling about. We approve of freedom, not government “requirements.”

      You can consider the serial number on my gun as external ID if it makes you feel better, or more superior, or whatever.

    • Or, how about everyone that is not carrying concealed has to walk around with a sign/badge/plate saying they are unarmed? /sarc

      • I wonder then would it be a crime then to wear the gun and the “I’m unarmed” sign? I can see them saying it now… “He was trying to entice an attack so he could legally shoot a man.”

        We all know how much they look out for the criminals.

    • I’m not sure whether it is a good idea for open carry without displaying something. What’s the point of requiring to be licensed to open carry without displaying something.

      I think it’s a safe bet open carriers will be stopped and asked to show ID in big cities, after the cop has “probable cause” of course; the same way they pull you over for “probable cause” today.

      That’s in addition to be antagonized to get you to do something illegal. Maybe it’s just that live in a tough liberal area.

      I think the idea of a miniature license plate is so it will not be confused with law enforcement ID.

      I won’t be open carrying anywhere in public

      • Nobody wants to have an open carry license, it’s utter nonsense. Just like nobody wants to have a CCW permit. It’s my right, I shouldn’t need permission from anyone or anything to carry a firearm.

        The only reason I ever wanted a pistol permit at all is because without one I couldn’t even buy handgun ammunition in my state, let alone a firearm.

      • Do you think people will be stopped for CCing, as well? If you are getting that crap where you live, start fighting it. If licensed OC is the rule, there is no more excuse to stop you for that than licensed CC. I am required to carry my CHL (for 15 years now), have been asked to produce it maybe twice. I am required to carry my form 4s for SBR and suppressor, do not expect anyone will EVER ask to see them, since that would seem a ATF responsibility, why would a local LEO care, it is no more dangerous than any other AR, and they are not restricted in any way.

    • How ’bout we just all get our permit number tattooed on our body, somewhere visible? Worked well in Germany…

  3. Robert, thanks for the coverage of the meetings. Proud of our representatives quashing the histrionics! Maybe we can add a $1 tax to CCL to get brain donors for the anti’s as a good faith measure?
    I didn’t know about the hearings being in El Paso. Guess the injuns cut the cell towers again. Anyway, it’s a long days drive from West to East Texas, more than I can handle.

  4. So is campus carry dead at this point? I thought legislators were signaling that they had the votes to pass it, what’s with the delay?

    • Campus Carry is not dead. The Senate floor debate on SB11 was delayed due to a clerical error in the documentation regarding witness lists. It is expected to go to floor today or tomorrow. If they hadn’t caught the error, it would have had to go back to committee on procedural grounds and re-held public hearings. This prevents antis from stalling the bill later in process on technical grounds.

    • Thanks for your support.In Texas it’s hard to get any bill passed, and sometimes takes years. Legislative sessions are only held every other year for a few months. This is a feature, not a bug, but it takes awhile to advance freedom. Nevertheless, in every session we’ve been able to pass laws that move the needle in the right direction. I would really like to see campus carry in my lifetime, and it might happen this year.

      Thanks to TTAG for the great coverage.

    • And what deal is on the table, exactly, that is broken? You, becoming a Texas resident? Nobody invited you, anyway.

      By the way, how’s that “Free State” movement you libertarian idealists dream of working out?

  5. “Campus Carry would hinder the free flow of ideas”. I agree Robert. A campus is the last place a person is free to have a “free flow of ideas”.

    No freedom of speech, of self-defense, of religion (unless it’s Islam or humanism), of dignity or self-respect.

    The average university campus is the next best thing to being in a totalitarian/communist dictatorship with the academics as the petty tyrants and tyrants always wants the peasants disarmed.

    • My son is a freshman at a one of these fine institutions. While home for spring break, we took a trip to the range and he brought up all the liberal mind droppings he has to avoid stepping in while on campus. Fortunately, he’s a math major, and inclined to use logical reasoning so he sees it for what it is. My wife listens to my rants about political correctness and censorship and thinks I’m overreacting, it felt good to see him school his mother about the reality of campus life.

      • I’m taking classes right now at a junior college. Just finished having a debate with my math teacher about white privilege, institutional racism and the high rates of incarceration of our privileged class.

        We weren’t in agreement about much, to say the least.

  6. Thanks DH and TTAG for the great coverage of this.

    I’m not in Texas (South Carolina for me) but it’s great to see how these things are going in the different parts of our great land. I can hope we get some pro-OC going in my state at some point and will be looking at how others are successfuly fighting against these restrictions.

    Thanks again!

    • I agree, Bubba. It can be hard enough keeping up with just one’s own state, or even national activity, let alone that in other states. I appreciate TTAG’s coverage of major firearms legislation in other states. It provides a benchmark for my own state, some informative talking points, as well as a gauge of the overall ebb and flow of the struggle for firearms freedom.

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