Friday, May 24, 2013

TX Bill Regulates Gun Control Regulations

The Texas House of Representatives passed a soon-to-be law that restricts gun control regulations a municipality, county, district, town, or city may adopt or implement.

Texas law already states that local governments cannot adopt any gun control laws or statutes beyond those passed by the state legislature. SB 987 takes that state law a step further. The state may now file suit against any municipality or local government who seeks to adopt or implement such a law. The suit will result in an injunction, permanent or temporary, to prevent such an adoption.

In other words, cities such as San Antonio or Houston cannot pass their own gun control laws like cities in other states, such as Chicago, IL, have in the past. Should Mayor Castro of San Antonio succeed in pushing through a ban against AR-15 semi-automatic .223 rifles, the state of Texas can immediately order San Antonio to not enforce that law. Should Houston pass a law prohibiting armed guards or educators at schools, the Texas laws providing for those personnel supersedes the city ordinance. A district could then provide those armed security personnel, regardless of the city ordinance.

The law also applies to regulations governing shooting ranges, indoor or outdoor. The state regulations are the effective regulations. The city cannot arbitrarily ban ranges that meet the state requirements.

The full bill enrolled and forwarded to Governor Perry for signature is available at this link.

    (f)  The attorney general may bring an action in the name of the state to obtain a temporary or permanent injunction against a municipality adopting a regulation in violation of this section. 
       SECTION 2.  Section 236.002, Local Government Code, is amended to read as follows:
(a)  Notwithstanding any other law, including Chapter 251, Agriculture Code, a county may not adopt regulations relating to: 
             (1)  the transfer, private ownership, keeping, transportation, licensing, or registration of firearms, ammunition, or firearm supplies; or 
             (2)  the discharge of a firearm at a sport shooting range. 
       (b)  The attorney general may bring an action in the name of the state to obtain a temporary or permanent injunction against a county adopting a regulation, other than a regulation under Section 236.003, in violation of this section.


Could Bill Impose More Gun Control?

Like many acts of any legislature, be it state, local, or federal, this bill presents a double-edged sword.

Not only does the bill prevent local governments from imposing further gun control regulations, it prevents them from lifting infringements upon the Second Amendment.

For example, imagine a municipality near the border area determines that ranchers and farmers be allowed to openly carry their pistols to protect their property and family from drug cartels. The state could now automatically impose and injunction against that law. This would be despite the fact that the Texas restrictions against open-carry are infringements upon the US Constitution.

No town or municipality in Texas would be allowed to pass a city ordinance such as the one unanimously passed some years ago in Kennesaw, Georgia. The town of Kennesaw passed a referandum made city ordinance that mandates all property owners own a firearm to protect their property. Crime in the city dropped to near zero. The per capita violent crime rate in that town are among the lowest in the nation. Texas towns would not be allowed to pass similar local laws.

So, while the new bill prevents localities from further infringing upon citizens' Second Amendment protections, it also denies those same localities from better protecting those rights.