Wednesday, July 3, 2013

TX Special Session Revives Gun Rights Bill

Texas State Representative Matt Krause has re-introduced legislation to protect the gun rights of Texas citizens.

The first day of the second special session of the Texas 83rd Legislature was ripe with members of both houses filing bills. The session was convened by executive order to achieve three goals. However, many members are using the opportunity to address other unfinished matters. Others are filing bills in order to delay action on the three directed issues.

The second special session opened Monday July 1, 2013 and went into recess at the conclusion of the first business day. The congress is scheduled to return to business on July 9,2013 after the Independence Day break.

Matt Krause seeks to defend Texas from any further attempts from the federal government to infringe upon the Second Amendment protections of the state's citizens.

This bill re-introduces a bill that makes it a violation of state law to assist in enforcing any federal gun control law that is not echoed in the state's laws.

Another way of explaining the bill is to say that if it isn't a Texas law, it is illegal to enforce it.

The bill (HB 19) also bans municipalities, counties, and other political subdivisions of the state from passing their own gun control laws.

(b) An agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state, and a law enforcement officer or other person employed by an agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state, may not contract with or in any other manner provide assistance to a federal agency or official with respect to the enforcement of a federal statute, order, rule, or regulation purporting to regulate a firearm, a firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition if the statute, order, rule, or regulation imposes a prohibition, restriction, or other regulation, such as a capacity or size limitation or a registration requirement, that does not exist under the laws of this state.
[Complete Text Available Here

Spartan Reply To Gun Control

The text of Krause's bill basically reflects the Greek phrase "Molon Labe" that is often used by gun rights advocates. "Molon Labe" roughly translates to "come take them". The phrase is mostly a dare indicating that arms will not be surrendered or lain down willingly.

The bill makes it illegal for any agent of the state of Texas or its political subdivisions to assist in any federal program to restrict, seize, confiscate, or register any weapon or ammunition owned by a Texan. The federal agents will be on their own without any local assistance should they attempt to do so.

The bill seems to be in response to the many proposed bills that resulted from the Sandy Hook massacre and other mass shootings. Those bills failed in federal congress. Krause appears to be looking at the UN Small Arms Treaty as another such threat. Should that treaty be ratified by the US Senate, it stands to relinquish the US its sovereignty in regards to the Second Amendment. The bill would protect the gun rights of Texans in that event by making the treaty unenforceable by federal agents who will not be capable of enforcing the treaty without state and local assistance.

Spark of Hypocrisy?

While this bill demonstrates how many Americans see Texas and its stance on gun rights, actual state laws paint a different story.

In Texas, not everybody can carry a gun. In fact, state law prohibits openly carrying a handgun. Any handgun carried by a citizen must be adequately concealed. Only law enforcement personnel and "commissioned" (specially licensed) security guards can open-carry their handguns.

To carry concealed requires a permit. Texas does not have "constitutional carry" laws that strictly follow the Second Amendment. Arizona and Alaska are among the very few states that do have constitutional carry. Constitutional Carry allows for a non-felon citizen to carry a lawfully owned firearm, with some common sense restrictions. That means of carrying may be open or concealed. Some states allow for constitutional open-carry, with concealed carry still requiring a permit. Texas allows for neither without a permit.

Texas Open Carry legislation failed to pass, dying in committee during the regular legislative session. 

HB 19 is designed to protect Texans from any further infringements on the Second Amendment protected rights to own and carry firearms. However, Texas itself is guilty of infringing upon those very protections with its own gun control laws.