Other Texas Gun Law Changes

Joint Resolution 22 passed by the Legislature is a proposed amendment to the Texas constitution that establishes an individual right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife. It should help ensure that wildlife conservation and management decisions continue to be based on sound science in order to preserve Texas' hunting and protect against future attacks from anti-hunting groups. This will be put on the ballot as Proposition 6 in November for a public vote to amend the constitution of Texas in support of hunting and fishing.

House Bill 910 has passed and is signed by the Governor. It will remove the requirement that CHL’s keep their handguns concealed, giving them the option of carrying them either wholly or partially visible in a belt or shoulder holster. This will not go into effect until January 1, 2016. The Department of Public Safety will be working on wording and updates on the classes and clarifying how all of this will be worked into the existing laws. There will still be a 30.06 sign to keep concealed carry out of a property but now we will deal with a 30.07 sign which will indicate that only open carry is not allowed on the posted property. Could be a little confusing in the beginning so stay alert.

The new carry on campus law will remove certain restrictions in law that prohibits Concealed Handgun Licensees from carrying concealed on college and university campuses. There are a lot of restrictions so be sure you understand what the college you are on allows and that the bill will not immediately go into effect. It appears that nothing goes into place until August 2016 and for Junior Colleges not until August 2017.

The bill requiring State and local officials not to place 30.06 signs on their building unless they are secured areas has been strengthened so that there is a punishment for those who do and do not remove them when notified by the State.

The concealed handgun licensee program was passed 20 years ago. It has had some ups and down but all in all the Legislature and Department of Public Safety have done a good job in getting information out to the licensees and the Licensees have done a good job keeping their noses clean and not creating a lot of problems for everyone. Hopefully that reputation will continue and we can continue to be prepared to defend ourselves or loved ones and make the good State of Texas a safer place due to there not being a lot of “no gun” areas.

Heard good results from the NRA Convention and classes that they provided this year. At the Firearms Law Seminar many were impressed with Massad Ayoob’s presentation on self-defense and the law of self-defense. He encourages that if you un-holster your gun, start dialing 911 whether it is a road rage instance or a defense of yourself or a loved one as your call to the authorities needs to be the first one. Scan your area before the authorities arrive to protect evidence and the scene itself. Be willing to file a complaint. Watch what you say as “everything can and will be used against you.” Be sure you are the victim in the incident. He pretty much just set out what most instructors teach in class but always good to have a review. Looks like it was another record breaking attendance for the NRA this year.

In February this year the Middle District of Pennsylvania Court held that the Second Amendment actually protects the rights of individuals who have been convicted of old, nonviolent crimes in spite of the Gun Control Act of 1968.. Julio Suarez was convicted in Montgomery County, Maryland of carrying a handgun without a license in 1990. The offense was classed as a misdemeanor in Maryland, but had a potential term of imprisonment of “not less than thirty days, nor more than three years.

Mr. Suarez was sentenced to 180 days’ imprisonment and fined $500 but both were suspended and he was given one year of probation. He was also convicted of a misdemeanor in 1998 for driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Section 921(g) of the Gun Control Act of 1968 bans anyone who “is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year....” Therefore, Suarez was barred under federal law from obtaining a firearm.Suarez filed a complaint in 2014 announcing that he intended to acquire a firearm for purposes of self-protection and the protection of his family. He argued (among other things) that the Gun Control Act, as applied to him, violates the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Judge William W. Caldwell of the Middle Distrct of Pennsylvania agreed with him and applied a two-prong test: (1) he asked whether or not Suarez’s case fell within the meaning of the Gun Control Act (which he held that it did.) (2) He examined whether or not “the challenged law imposes a burden on conduct falling wthin the scope of the Second Amendment’s guarantee.

The key to the ruling appears to be the section of U.S. v. Heller stating that although not an exhaustive historical analysis of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

Because the Supreme Court held that these measures were only “presumptively” valid, Judge Caldwell held that they could be “rebutted with an as-applied challenge.” To raise such a challenge, the challenger “must present facts about himself and his background that distinguish his circumstances from those of persons historically barred from Second Amendment Challenges.” At least it gives hope to those caught in this situation.

The Supreme Court has ruled that a convicted felon may ask a court to transfer his guns to a third party, rather than relinquishing them to the government in a recent decision in Henderson v. United States. If a person is convicted of a felony that is punishable by at least a year in prison, federal law bars that person from possessing a firearm. This affirms that the government cannot simply seize any firearms the convicted felon owned.

Tony Henderson, a former U.S. border patrol agent, was busted for dealing small amounts of marijuana. He was sentenced to six months in jail and served his time. The former officer had turned his personal gun collection over to the court during his legal proceedings, and the government kept his weapons after his conviction because felons are barred from possessing firearms.

The court opinion is that a felon may transfer his weapons to a third party, as long as the court is satisfied that the recipient will not let the felon use the weapons or direct their use.

Practice and training are the best thing you can do for your shooting skills. Most beginning defensive shooting classes will stress the basic safety rules and go over the rules of safe gun handling, handling the gun safely, reloading an empty gun, and perhaps some malfunction clearing.

These basic classes provide a foundation upon which to build a skill set and should not be undermined. But, be sure to go forward with higher level defensive pistol classes which challenge students to run their pistols in manners that could commonly be seen in defensive situations. Skills like drawing from the holster, rapid sight acquisition, target identification, rapid emergency reloads, and malfunction clearing are emphasized and varied levels of controlled stress are also introduced. They should encourage your safe handling and give you confidence in what to practice and skills to work on.

Be careful in choosing these classes to be sure you are comfortable and will go forward with your defensive thought processes.

Lone Star Gun Range, 3795 Dry Creek Road, near Lockhart is having an event on July 4th

A family friendly shoot out! Complete with prizes!

Using our .22lr rifles you will have a chance to shoot at balloons from different distances and sizes and difficulty with 20 rounds of ammo.

When you hit the balloon your name will added to a hat to win a new Remington 22LR rifle. There will also be a (2) $100 gift card prizes and a free tee shirt for the first 100 people that participate.

Entry fee of $10 can be paid the day of the event.
The tee shirts are 1 per shooter and while supplies last. There will also be special prizes for kids too. See you there!

There is no need to buy the $15 day pass that day if you are just shooting the competition. If you are also coming to shoot your own guns on the other ranges or rent firearms then the $15 day pass still applies.

Visit their web site to see the details www.lonestargunrange.com

A lot of gun ranges were damaged during the recent storms and hopefully most will be back up in service shortly. The Lone Star suffered mud damages but managed to make several good improvements during this time on their berms and ranges. The Austin Rifle Club range is back in service for some of their ranges but if you shoot there be sure to check their latest news brief for directions.

We are in the process of turning our schools over to a new buyer. He is very dedicated to the cause and will be expanding some of the classes and doing them in different areas so keep a look at the web site. Be sure to get on the e-mail list to see all of his great ideas as they come down. We will continue to assist in teaching for 6 months to a year. Will try to keep you alerted as the decisions on the new laws are released. Stay safe,

Ross and Dottie Bransford


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