Our Second Amendment Rights
Folks, Senator Dan Patrick needs no introduction! But his efforts in the Texas Senate protecting our Second Amendment rights need to be highlighted! Here is a capitol update I received from him recently:
First, I want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Even in these troubled times, we have much to be thankful for in our great state and great country. May God bless you and your family.
As most of you know, I am a strong proponent of Second Amendment rights and a proud gun owner. To protect the rights of all law-abiding gun owners in the state, I co-authored and supported several Second Amendment bills in the 81st Legislative Session. Here is a brief summary of these bills.
Senate Bill 1164, the Campus Personal Protection Act, is a bill I co-authored which would have allowed concealed handgun licensees to carry their handguns on college and university campuses. Licensees have already passed extensive state and federal criminal records checks, completed strict training requirements, and have been issued licenses by the Department of Public Safety. Those same licensees should not be prohibited from protecting themselves in self-defense when necessary, even when on a college campus. SB 1164 narrowly passed the Senate, but died in the House without being called to a floor vote.
Senate Bill 730, by Senator Glenn Hegar, is another bill I co-authored in support of gun-owner rights. The bill would have allowed employees to transport and store lawfully owned firearms in their locked, privately owned vehicles in employer-owned parking lots. The bill also would have ensured that business owners and employers could continue to regulate firearm policies within the workplace. This common-sense approach appropriately balanced our Second Amendment rights with the needs of an employer to provide a safe workplace. Unfortunately, SB 730 also died in the House after passing through the Senate.
However, a very important gun-owner rights bill, Senate Bill 1188 by Senator Craig Estes, recently became law. I strongly supported this bill in the Senate. Before the bill was signed into law, Texas residents were unable to purchase firearms, ammunition, reloading components, or firearm accessories outside of Texas and the contiguous states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. With the passage of SB 1188, Texans may now make those purchases in all 50 states.
Finally, there has been a great deal of confusion about whether a restaurant qualifies as a "bar", which carries a Class A Misdemeanor for entering with a concealed handgun. In order to protect concealed handgun licensees from prosecution for entering a bar that they thought was just a restaurant, I supported House Bill 2664. This bill created a defense to charges of illegally carrying a weapon into a bar if the business does not adequately notify customers that they are a bar.
Despite these advances in gun-owners' rights, I am disappointed the two major bills to bolster Second Amendment rights failed in the 81st Legislative Session. I will continue to fight on behalf of each citizen's Second Amendment rights, and I believe the hard work of this session will help our efforts in the future.