Wednesday, February 22, 2017

About Texas Constitutional Carry...and the NRA: An open letter to Dana Loesch

"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.
Nehemiah 4:18


First things first, as I was sitting down to write this post literally before I logged into blogger, I saw that New Hampshire passed Constitutional Carry this morning; good for them!!!

But congrats on the new NRA gig.

Let's talk business: The reason I'm writing today is because we both support constitutional carry in Texas; but, absent significant public pressure, it ain't gonna happen.

To complicate matters, the NRA's Texas affiliate has historically been absent on constitutional carry; as Cary Cheshire reported in January:
In a memo to members informing them of what to expect from the Texas Legislature, the Texas State Rifle Association omitted the top legislative priority of the state’s Republican Party and what is likely to be the most contentious gun-related issue of the session: constitutional carry.

Voted as the number one priority of the Republican Party of Texas by delegates at the 2016 GOP Convention in Dallas, “constitutional carry” refers to removing the licensing requirement for Texans to carry a handgun.

Though conservative State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Beford) pre-filed the legislation in November, thus far the Texas GOP has been glaringly silent with Chairman Tom Mechler refusing to endorse the measure publicly or respond to repeated requests for comment.

The TSRA, which claims on its website to support “the fewest restrictions for law-abiding Texas gun owners,” doesn’t mention the legislation at all in a recent letter to members.
In fairness to TSRA, they got on board following Cary's post.   But they've always been re-active instead of proactive.  And that's a charitable interpretation.

But, given that we're nearly a third of the way through the current legislative session, let's leave the past in the past.

Where do things stand now?!?

HB 375 by Jonathan Stickland is the only credible constitutional carry bill to have been filed in either chamber.  While a second toothless House bill was filed last week, that bill is a distraction designed to create the appearance of second amendment activity without meaningful accomplishment.  In the Senate, they have until March 10 to file a companion bill (Don Huffines carried it last session).

So, absent a Senate bill getting filed in the next two weeks, HB 375 is the only path forward.

HB 375 was recently referred to the Homeland Security committee, chaired by Phil King; right now, the bill needs a hearing.

Rep. Phil King: (512) 463-0738

What can we use from the NRA?!?

Thousands of phone calls.

If the NRA did an e-mail blast to their Texas members, that would generate more than enough pressure to get the bill moving; if they did the same thing at every other stage of the process (four stages total), there's a decent chance it passes.

But, absent the sort of numbers only the NRA can bring, it ain't gonna happen.

And, considering your new gig, you're now in a position to help make that happen.

Thanks for reading.

February 22, 2017

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