UPDATE: ‘Gun Day’ ended up to be all for show. Not ONE of these bills was even put on the intent calendar of the Senate and therefore died. That is on the Senate leadership.
A rare Saturday session in the State Capitol, nicknamed as ‘Gun Day’ for the consolidation of all the Second Amendment related bills (the ones that got out of committee) grouped for this one day, along with a number of unrelated quick ‘third readings’ bills (‘second readings’ are where the action is, debate and discussion and a feel for the House receptiveness; ‘third readings’ are the recorded votes and everyone pretty well knows if they are passing or not).
The results: Campus Carry (HB 972) passed second reading. This bill is a VERY watered-down version; any campus president can simply opt out after ‘consulting with faculty, staff, and students’. But it’s a start (and, if a woman with a CHL is one of the 20% that is estimated undergoes some sort of sexual assault on campus, suing the campus president PERSONALLY for that decision would be an eye-opener.) The Democrats fought even this watered down bill vehemently, raising 5 different points of order to try to kill it. We have to give House Speaker Straus kudos for swatting these efforts down and letting the vote proceed. (He’d earned even bigger kudos if he’d permitted Open Carry to come out for a vote; that would likely have died in the Senate, but everyone would have to have gone on RECORD about it.)
Actually, more significant bills followed: HB1314 and HB1076 These bill essentially precludes the enforcement of federal gun restrictions that are not specifically matched by Texas laws; as close to nullification as one might get. This one REALLY upset the Democrats and a few of them went into speech-making mode, mainly lambasting AG Abbott for his support of such and willingness to sue the federal government for its over-reach (newsflash to the Dems; That’s not a bug in out AG; that’s a feature!) . They passed anyway. It will definitely keeps state and city officials from enforcing federal gun restrictions. A possible example: if Washington passed a magazine capacity limit, can you imagine the DPS officers in the State Capitol asking each CHL Licensee for their weapon to check that the magazine meets those requirements? Half the Reps with CHLs wouldn’t have passed that day; neither would this author.
A school marshal was passed (HB1009), where school employees can be given two weeks of training and be allowed access to weapons stored securely onsite. (NOT concealed carry; would NOT have stopped the Connecticut shooter in time; but it’s a start.)
With all of these victories (watered down as they were) there was one small defeat. Van Taylor’s bill HB2665, which would have allowed a CHL to be used as an alternate ID in some instances. A point of order was brought up- and sustained by the Speaker. This was more about direct personal retribution from Rep. McClendon for the fact that Van had effectively argued against her poorly written bill on needle exchanges the day before. the Chair upheld the point of order to grant the Dems a small victory and to allow personal retribution, taking some from the kudos for killing the other points of order. Van paid a small price for standing against poor legislation on principle; we wouldn’t have him do anything different.
Bottom line: a good day for Second Amendment, but could have been far better if the campus Carry had not been so watered down- and Open Carry allowed a vote it surely would have passed.