|Lone Star Gun Rights/National Association for Gun Rights present constitutional carry petition.|
"Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me."
[Note: The Constitutional carry hearing is ongoing here. We've signed up to testify but won't be able to return to the Capitol until 8pm or so. The gun free zone hearing has moved onto other issues, but the full hearing will be archived here.]
One of the weird dynamics of this session is that the House is actually pursuing much stronger gun bills than the Senate (Note: Yeah, you read that correctly). That dynamic was continued today. Jonathan Stickland's constitutional carry bill (HB 375) is currently being heard in the Public Safety Committee while the Civil Jurisprudence earlier heard several bills related to removing legal liability for businesses that permit legal carrying on their premises.
During his gun layout, Stickland discussed how he's only filed four bills this session because of the attention he wants to devote to constitutional carry. He outlined the "dirty, racist," history of gun control laws. Furthermore, he pointed out that the CHL system represents a "barrier to entry" for law abiding citizens to engage in armed self defense.
In response to Stickland's point about barriers to entry hurting low income citizens the most, the infamous Poncho Nevarez (yeah, that Poncho) proposed creating a bureaucratic workaround for the indigent. Of course, creating yet another bureaucratic process does nothing to address the underlying issue of government barriers to entry hurting the poor the most. Beyond that, Poncho's been engaging in lawyer semantics this entire hearing.
The Democrats have also been arguing, and Stickland has confirmed, that HB 375 (in it's current form) could lower the age at which citizens could legally carry on college campuses to 18. This might get changed in a future version of the bill, but in the event that it doesn't that's all the more reason to pass this bill. That'll be a fun UT Board meeting....
On the legal liability bills, the civil jurisprudence committee heard several that would prohibit frivolous lawsuits against business owners that allow firearms on their premises. All of the bills would be a meaningful step forward. What we really need are the gun-free zone bills like the one under consideration in Florida, but the bills considered today are worth moving forward.
Here's the thing: If we're Joe Straus, and we're going to kill the privacy act, then it makes a certain amount of sense to let constitutional carry through. He has to let something through and national trends are moving in a way that means he won't be able to kill it indefinitely. Furthermore, given the Senate's well documented discomfort with this issue, passing constitutional carry could be a really interesting way for Straus to put Patrick in an uncomfortable position.
Bottom Line: These bills are in play.