Gun stores considered non-essential businesses by Texas legislators. READ MORE
Mike Cox Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) Legislative Director
Dear TSRA Member:
Earlier this week, pro-Second Amendment State Representative Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) requested an opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton on whether city and county officials can prohibit the sale of firearms through an emergency order or declaration by excluding firearm manufacturers and retailers as “essential businesses.” Over the course of this week, local officials across the state from the cities of Austin, Lubbock and Waco, as well as Bexar, Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Travis counties adopted (and in some cases modified) such orders. Forcing some gun stores to close and denying law-abiding Texans the right to purchase for protection during these uncertain times.
On March 31, General Paxton issued Opinion No. KP-0296 stating that Section 229.001(a) and 236.002(a) of the Texas Local Government Code prohibit municipalities and counties from adopting regulations related to the transfer of and commerce in firearms, and that these emergency stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders may not regulate or restrict the sale of firearms.
Thanks go out to Representative Burrows for his timely request and to General Paxton for issuing this critical opinion affirming that the state firearms preemption statute overrides these local orders and protecting the exercise of your Second Amendment rights in the Lone Star State.
Also, thanks go out to State Representative Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) and State Senator Pat Fallon (R-Prosper) for sponsoring and passing House Bill 3231 during the 2019 legislative session, legislation which strengthened and made important clarifications to Texas’ state firearms preemption statute, and to Governor Greg Abbott for signing the measure into law.
There’s more! Democratic contender Bloomberg again denies the importance of the 2nd amendment. READ MORE
Jack Wilson — a 71-year-old congregant of the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Tex. — is a hero to most Americans. When a deranged man savagely murdered two of Mr. Wilson’s fellow worshippers during a service at the church on Dec. 29, Wilson took swift action. He exposed himself to danger to deliver a single shot from his lawfully carried handgun that instantly ended what undoubtedly would have been even more terrible carnage among the hundreds present.
Other congregants were also seen producing lawfully carried handguns in response to the threat. Several closed in on the fallen assailant to ensure he was neutralized. None of them panicked or acted rashly and no errant shots were fired.
The entire episode was over in six seconds and was captured on the church’s livestream.
The evidence is inescapable and available to anyone who cares to view it. Anybody who has ever tried to justify a public policy proposal on the grounds that it could save “just one life” is now on notice that lawful concealed carry saved many lives in just that one episode.
Yet one person who did not bother to watch the video or acquaint himself with the facts is Democrat presidential contender Michael Bloomberg. Commenting on the incident at a campaign stop in Montgomery Ala., Bloomberg did not mention Jack Wilson’s name. Bloomberg did not even acknowledge that the events depicted in video and widely reported in the media – including on Bloomberg’s self-named news site – were authentic.
But if they were, he huffed, it didn’t change his mind that only the police (which apparently include the current and former officers on his own armed protection detail) should be able to carry firearms in public.
“It may true, I wasn’t there, I don’t know the facts, that somebody in the congregation had their own gun and killed the person who murdered two other people,” he said. “But it’s the job of law enforcement to, uh, have guns and to decide when to shoot.” He continued, “You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place.”
In the best-case scenario, responding police would still have been minutes away from the violence breaking out in the West Freeway Church of Christ. The shotgun-wielding assailant could have killed many more people in that time had he not faced armed resistance of his own.
But Bloomberg’s own words indicate he would consider that an acceptable price to pay to vindicate his arch-statist and anti-constitutional view that the government should have a complete monopoly on the lawful use of lethal force.
What, in Bloomberg’s mind, make police the only people who can be trusted with firearms?
Does he feel that only law enforcement can effectively and safely use firearms?
Jack Wilson answered that question on Dec. 29, 2019, by delivering a single, precise shot at 15 yards that felled its target and only its target, saving innocent lives.
But somehow that’s still not good enough for Michael Bloomberg because Wilson is not an active-duty police officer.
What lesson are we supposed to learn from Bloomberg’s response to the White Settlement events, other than who shoots whom isn’t as important to him as who gets to decide who lawfully wields lethal force?
Are you willing to helplessly take one for Team Bloomberg’s scheme of law and order if you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Note that Michael Bloomberg isn’t taking that risk himself; his payroll includes plenty of armed men to keep him safe.
The Second Amendment is your guarantee that you need not take the risk either, which is why Michael Bloomberg’s worldview cannot be reconciled with that fundamental liberty.
This stands in stark contrast to President Trump, who understands exactly what the right to keep and bear arms is all about and unabashedly respects that right.
“It was over in 6 seconds thanks to the brave parishioners who acted to protect 242 fellow worshippers,” President Trump tweeted on Dec. 30. “Lives were saved by these heroes, and Texas laws allowing them to carry guns!
Texas Governor Greg Abbot is promoting firearm safety education and equipment to citizens. READ MORE
Gun control advocates are not concerned with gun safety. This reality was brought home once again by the anti-gun reaction to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and the firearm industry’s work to ensure Texans have free access to gun locks.
Following a high-profile shooting in Santa Fe, Texas in May 2018, Gov. Abbott released the School and Firearm Safety Action Plan. As part of the plan, the governor called on the state to promote the voluntary use of gun locks.
To carry out this goal, Abbott partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Under the plan, Abbott created a $1 million grant from the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division to help fund NSSF’s “Own It? Respect it. Secure it” and “Project ChildSafe” campaigns.
As explained in the governor’s plan,
The NSSF “Own It? Respect it. Secure it” initiative was developed to promote and encourage firearm safety and safe storage. It also supplements ongoing firearm safety and education campaigns such as Project ChildSafe, which has distributed more than 37 million firearm safety kits that includes a cable-style gun lock, lock-installment instructions, and a safety booklet. Project ChildSafe firearm safety education kits are free to law enforcement agencies.
NRA opposes mandatory storage laws. Such restrictions can leave gun owners defenseless at the critical moment that they need a firearm most. Moreover, American gun ownership is diverse. A one-size-fits-all approach to gun storage doesn’t consider the varied needs of law-abiding gun owners.
However, like NSSF, NRA encourages gun owners to take the appropriate steps to voluntarily secure their firearms. Through its Education and Training Division, NRA has taught millions of Americans how to safely own and handle firearms. NRA’s gun safety rules teach firearm owners to store firearms so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the first of the grant money was delivered last month and the first batch of firearm safety kits are now making their way to law enforcement agencies. The full grant is expected to fund 625,000 safety kits.
Gov. Abbott’s efforts to provide more than half-a-million free gun locks was not enough to please so-called “gun safety” group Texas Gun Sense. The Chronicle reported that Texas Gun Sense Executive Director Gyl Switzer expressed doubts about the program. The paper noted,
Switzer said free gun locks “are always a good thing,” but said she would evaluate the project with skepticism “since NSSF is the lobby arm for gun manufacturers.”
Why would a purported “gun safety” group care about how free gun locks are provided? Because their goal isn’t gun safety, it is gun control.
When it comes to gun control advocates, unless a measure encumbers honest gun owners, who they view as their political rivals, then it is not worth doing. Gun control isn’t about gun safety or public safety. Gun control is about controlling law-abiding Americans and indulging ugly political and cultural prejudices.
Gov. Abbott and NSSF should be congratulated for their efforts to promote gun safety while respecting the rights of gun owners.
Texas Gov. recently released his “Action Plan” in response to the Santa Fe incident. READ MORE
SOURCE: texas.gov.com, AP
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott introduced a 44-page plan intended to keep schools safer. The focus is on increased law enforcement presence, more armed school personnel, better threat assessment, and better mental health interventions.
“This plan is a starting point, not an ending place,” said Governor Abbott. “It provides strategies that can be used before the next school year begins to keep our students safe when they return to school. This plan will make our schools safer and our communities safer.”
Abbott’s “School Firearm Safety Action Plan” resulted from a series of roundtable discussions hosted by the governor following the Sante Fe TX shooting on May 19.
The primary focus for the recommendations are on school security, but also suggests 5 firearm-specific measures, including fortifying criminal reporting that might influence NICS background check.
The plan also addresses Texas’ Safe Firearm Storage Law, which has recently come under scrutiny. Currently, the law only allows prosecution of parents for what’s deemed unsafe storage if their child is under 17 years of age. This absolved the father of the Santa Fe shooter from liability.
Abbott seeks to raise the age to 18, and increasing the penalty level to a 3rd-degree felony when access results in death or serious bodily injury, plus seeks to remove the “readily dischargeable” statutory definition.
The plan also encourages the state legislature to “consider the merits” of allowing courts to issue “red flag” or “extreme risk” protective orders. This would allow law enforcement, a district attorney, a school employee, or a family member to file a petition seeking the removal of firearms from a person suspected to be dangerous to himself or to others. Governor Abbott insists that such a law must follow due process by providing the person both a notice and a hearing, and that any such protective order would be for a limited duration of time, provide for mental health treatment, and offer a clear path to the full restoration of rights and return of firearms when the person is no longer deemed to be a danger.
Regarding proposed school measures: the plan outlines several measures which include increasing law enforcement presence, implementing behavior threat assessment programs, addressing the means to provide more secure school infrastructure, and active shooter and emergency response training.
Abbott’s “Action Plan” includes a section outlining how the school marshal program might be expanded, and also provide training that focuses more on firearms use. This program allows school districts to identify and train personnel, including teachers, to respond to active shooter situations with firearms. Under current law, school marshals who have direct contact with students are required to store their firearm while on campus, making the weapon hard to access and use in the event of a crisis. The proposal seeks to change this and allow marshals to keep their firearms on their person.
Abbott says he has identified nearly $110 million in total funding, including $70 million that is already or will soon be available.
A Texas House committee has approved legislation that would allow handguns to be carried—concealed or in a holster—without a state-issued license. Also, the Texas Senate has passed SB 1408, a bill to allow first responders to conceal carry.
The just-passed version of HB 1911’s permitless carry provisions approved by the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee contained several substantial changes from previous versions.
• To carry without a permit, gun owners would have to meet existing LTC standards: be 21 years of age or older, have no criminal convictions, and be eligible to purchase a weapon under federal and state laws. The previous version would have allowed guns to be carried by those 18 and older.
• Churches and places of worship would no longer be prohibited places to carry a gun, unless they posted 30.06 and/or 30.07 signs.
• Handguns carried in the open would still be required to be kept in a holster, but the restrictions on them being in a belt or shoulder holsters would be loosened.
“This bill simply creates an unlicensed option to carrying a handgun,” said Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford., chairman of the committee.
A competing bill, House Bill 375 by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, wasn’t considered for a vote. Stickland’s legislation would allow anybody who legally owns a firearm to carry it without a license—a much broader franchise than what’s being considered in HB 1911.
“We understand that for the most part, Texans are satisfied with the current carry laws we have now. However, there is still a significant number of Texans who believe that if you’re a law-abiding citizen, you shouldn’t necessarily have to buy your way to a right to bear arms through a license,” Rep. James White (R-Hillister) told the Austin American-Statesman.
Over in the state Senate, SB 1408, brought by Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas), would allow first responders to carry a handgun on duty if they have Licenses to Carry (LTC) and have completed a special on-duty first responder training course that will be approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Senator Huffines said, “As first responders answer our cries for help, we cannot leave them exposed to attack. First responders do dangerous work and sometimes come under fire. In a time in which our police are targeted just because of their uniform and badge, we must not leave first responders disarmed and exposed to danger, either.”
If you feel that either piece of legislation should continue, please contact your representative and voice your support for these measures.
In this interview with WBAP radio in Dallas, Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker of Walker & Byington discusses the differences between two Texas House bills that are vying to bring permitless carry to Texas. (Audio only).
Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor discusses the intricacies of the law of self defense in Texas when people are doing bad things at night. Does darkness expand your ability to protect yourself and your property?
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