Texas 81st Legislative Session In Review

We are well into 2009 and many historic events have occurred. There are those who are predicting doom and despair; radical change and disaster. Folks, we live in the United States of America. Our new president is just that he is now president. He has dreams and aspirations for America just like all preceding presidents had based upon his personal beliefs. He was not mandated into office. So now he must work with and through the Congress, agencies, courts and state rights and all the things that are out there to make sure that we do not elect a “king.”

It was a wonderful historic moment for many reasons. Was he my choice, no, but again – that is the way America works. He is my president.

However, those of us who are more conservative minded, hope for less government than more, and believe the Bill of Rights means just that – they are rights that cannot be taken away must become and stay more involved than ever.

We have been notified of several pending legislations in the State of Texas - All appear to be on the side of giving the “right to bear arms” more credence so we probably need to talk it up and let the powers that be know our feelings. The Texas State Rifle Association notes:

Texas State Legislature

House Bills

State Representative Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) pre-filed House Bill 267, legislation allowing Texans to purchase rifles and shotguns in non-contiguous states. Currently, federal law allows the interstate sales of such firearms, but a conflicting Texas law only allows residents to buy long guns in the neighboring states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. This state law has prevented the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) from approving sales of rifles and shotguns in 45 other states to Texas residents.

HB 410 by State Representative Carl Isett (R-Lubbock). This legislation repeals the requirement that when stopped by law enforcement a Texas concealed handgun licensees display their license when carrying their handgun. Under current law failure to display the license when carrying a handgun may lead to the license being suspended for 90 days and/or the person charged with a class A or a class B misdemeanor. Law enforcement is made aware of the status of the concealed handgun licensee during the wants and warrants check. Technology has made the old law unnecessary and a potential hardship for licensees.

The TSRA has given a call for assistance in the Employee Protection/Parking Lot Companion Legislation

State Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) has introduced Senate Bill 730, legislation allowing employees to store legally-owned firearms in their locked, private motor vehicles while parked at work. State Representative Stephen Frost (D- Atlanta) filed House Bill 1301, the House companion bill to SB 730!

Both would prevent employers from making you choose between your personal safety and keeping your job. Big business and industry representatives will pull out all the stops to defeat this measure. It's time to find out whether your State Representatives stand with corporate executives who make decisions about your personal safety from a boardroom, or whether your elected officials stand with hard-working Texans who simply wish to exercise their right to lawfully transport firearms in their cars and trucks -- a right recognized under state law that employers' "No Firearms" policies clearly conflict with.

According to the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor’s Site some additional ones are –

HB 140 by Gonzalez Toureilles

Categories: Concealed Carry. Status: Filed 11/10/08.

Relating to the use or display under certain circumstances of an expired license to carry a concealed handgun.
For required display to law enforcement,a valid license includes an expired license if, before the expiration date of the license, the license holder submitted an application for renewal and has not received notice that the application for renewal was denied.

Joint Resolution

HJR 20, by Anderson
Categories: Hunting. Status: Filed 11/10/08.

Proposing a constitutional amendment relating to the right to hunt and fish.
Proposes adding a right to hunt and fish to the Texas Bill of Rights. The Constitutional amendment would have to be voted on by the people.

Senate Bills

SB 094, by Van de Putte
Categories: Stun gun. Status: Filed 11/10/08.

Relating to restrictions on the use of a stun gun; providing certain criminal penalties and defenses to prosecution for persons who obtain a stun gun license.
Adds stun guns to the list of prohibited weapons. Possession of a stun gun even on a person’s own property would require the equivalent of a concealed handgun license.

SB 330, by Carona

Categories: Possession and Sale. Status: Filed 12/01/08.
Relating to the punishment for unlawful carrying of weapons.
Unlawful carrying is presently a Class A Misdemeanor. This bill raises the punishment to a state Jail Felony for those previously convicted of organized crime.

In the US Congress –

H.R.17– Citizens’ Self-Defense Act of 2009
To protect the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home, and to provide for the enforcement of such right.

H.R.45– Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009
To provide for the implementation of a system of licensing for purchasers of certain firearms and for a record of sale system for those firearms, and for other purposes.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., is hoping to pass a firearm-licensing bill that will significantly rewrite gun-ownership laws in America. Among the more controversial provisions of the bill are requirements that all handgun owners submit to the federal government a photo, thumb print and mental health records. Further, the bill would order the attorney general to establish a database of every handgun sale, transfer and owner's address in America.

H.R. 197– National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009
To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State.

H.R. 257– Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act of 2007
To prevent children’s access to firearms.

Folks we have so many laws out there trying to keep guns from being in “unauthorized persons” hands that we do not need additional guidance or reminders. We are liable so out guns must be secure. New laws will not help that situation. People’s actions are already governed not to give access to those not authorized to have guns in their possession.

H.R. 442– Veterans’ Heritage Firearms Act of 2009
To provide an amnesty period during which veterans and their family members can register certain firearms in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and for other purposes.

H.R. 495– Southwest Border Violence Reduction Act of 2009
To authorize additional resources to identify and eliminate illicit sources of firearms smuggled into Mexico for use by violent drug trafficking organizations, and for other purposes.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence sued the Interior Department to stop a last-second Bush administration change that would allow Americans to carry concealed, loaded guns in most national parks and wildlife refuges. They wan ta federal judge to stop the elimination of a 25-year-old federal rule severely restricting loaded guns in national parks. I would suggest that you call the National Park you are interested in going to and see what their policy is and how they want it handled until we find out just how this matter is going to come down. The Justice Department has upheld the decision and evidently now they are going to attack it on the grounds of not enough environmental endangerment studies being done.

The only information we can locate appears to say that the Army Corpof Engineer parks and lakes do not allow any type of loaded guns unless on a hunting project and then only within special parameters.

Some good places to go for information on who you need to contact, keep in touch with and assure that they understand your views and understandings of the intents can be found at the following places:

  • Go to Legislature site - http://www.house.state.tx.us/welcome.php
  • Search the State Legislature pages for introduced legislation.
  • Search the State Legislature pages for existing statutes.
  • Learn about the Texas Legislative Process.
  • The archived 80thLegislature, 2009; 79thLegislature, 2005; 78thLegislature, 2003; 77thLegislature, 2001; and 76thLegislature, 1999

Be sure you are on at least one of the e-mail informational services so that you receive timely information about legislation and projects that we need to act on quickly in the coming months and years. Some good ones are from the Texas Rifle Association, the NRA, and the Texas Concealed Handgun Association. We will do our best to get a newsletter out once a month to keep everyone on their toes to support legislation that is good for freedom. Just remember every law limits someone or something so less is always better.

Some good web sites to turn to are

The TSRA has a group who are supporting our troops who Arrive And Depart Daily- Be part of a TSRA group to send our troops off or welcome them home. Call the headquarters for dates and times to participate. Make a difference.

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