Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Texas Legislative Two-Step On Gun Rights

The Texas state legislature is doing a two-step around the issue of Gun Rights and Second Amendment protections.

A bill, SB 299,  facing an imminent floor vote in the state Senate seeks to make Section H concealed carry laws more in line with common sense. Currently, under the law, if a concealed carry license holder is in public and their handgun "pines", they could face criminal penalty.

"Pining" is when clothing is slightly tight or, through routine movements catches on the weapon or holster presenting an outline of the weapon. It also includes if the bearer should move and a portion of the weapon shows.

The bill would change the law making that offense valid only if the bearer intentionally displays the weapon in a threatening manner. That would include pointing to the weapon, intentionally pulling concealment away to reveal the weapon, or any other act that intentionally draws attention to the weapon in a threatening manner.

The bill further clarifies that the act of exposing the weapon is an offense only if not in response to a situation that does not warrant an armed response or use of deadly force for protection.

In other words, it would no longer be a crime if the weapon should accidentally become exposed, revealed, or pines. That is just plain common sense.

Below is the applicable portion of the bill:

relating to the unintentional display of a weapon by a person licensed to carry a concealed handgun.

       SECTION 1.  Section 46.035, Penal Code, is amended to read as follows:

(a) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder carries a handgun on or about the license holder's person under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, and intentionally [fails to conceal the handgun] displays the handgun in plain view of another person in a public place in a manner calculated to cause alarm and not pursuant to a justified use of force or threat of force as described in Chapter 9
       (b)  A license holder commits an offense if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, on or about the license holder's person.

The Senate is also poised for a floor vote on SB 1467 which entices gun, ammunition, and gun accessory manufacturers to move from states with greater infringements upon second amendment protections to Texas.

However, bills that would enforce second amendment protections such as allowing open carry (with permit), allowing constitutional open carry (no permit necessary), and others remain stuck in committees despite overwhelming testimony and data supporting the bills.

This sends an unclear and mixed message to taxpaying citizens who want nothing less than to be allowed to live in the United States with full enjoyment of the natural rights the US Constitution guarantees.