With the progress of a bill moving through the Texas legislature that would legalize the open carry of handguns (at least for CCW license holders), Second Amendment rights in the Lone Star state seem to be on the cusp of marked improvement. But that’s apparently a signal to at least one state representative that it’s time to roll back First Amendment freedoms. “A bill restricting the rights of citizens to record the police was filed in Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday. The House Bill 2918 introduced by Texas Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) would make private citizens photographing or recording the police within 25 feet of them a class B misdemeanor.” Hold on, it gets worse . . .
Under Representative Villalba’s bill, if you’re a gun owner, you have to stay back 100 feet if you intend to fire up your iPhone camera. The only exceptions to the stand-off limits in the bill are reserved for the “professional” media defined as
a radio or television (station) that holds a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission, a newspaper that is qualified under section 2051.044 or a magazine that appears at a regular interval
So Rep. Villalba is OK with Brian Williams, Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair recording Officer Krupke making an arrest, but Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public will have to step to the back of the bus.
As the chron.com article points out, Rep. Villalba’s little exercise in governmental media accreditation with a soupçon of blatant discrimination against those who exercise their right to keep and bear arms runs afoul of at least one appeals court decision. The real question is whether any Texas law enforcement agencies are pushing for Villalba’s fascist proposal from behind the scenes. And if so, what are they trying to hide?