HB 910, the Texas licensed open carry bill, passed the House by 2/3 margins. The bill went through the Senate State Affairs Committee, where the Dutton amendment was stripped from it. Now, being debated on the floor of the full Senate, the debate is whether to put the Dutton amendment back in. The Dutton amendment specifies that peace officers may not detain open carriers simply to ask if they have a license, but must have probable cause to suspect criminal activity, just like they need for any Terry stop. The amendment is designed to protect open carriers from police harassment. Here is the text of the amendment:
CERTAIN INVESTIGATORY STOPS AND INQUIRIES PROHIBITED. A peace officer may not make an investigatory stop or other temporary detention to inquire as to whether a person possesses a handgun license solely because the person is carrying a partially or wholly visible handgun carried in a shoulder or belt holster.The second amendment supporters of open carry, represented by C.J. Grisham, have said that the amendment is not important, because of precedent that guards against this type of stop in any case. Others say that it is useful, because it will prevent the flood of lawsuits that will be required to enforce the judicial rulings in Texas.
A potential advantage for bringing the Dutton amendment back, is that the bill can be restored to a duplicate of the House Bill 910. Then it does not have to go back to the House for a vote. It can be engrossed after the Senate third vote and sent to Governor Abbott for signature. The progress of the bill is being followed closely, with knowledgeable debate on procedure and fine points, on Texasguntalk.com.
The Senate has now postponed debate until 6pm, an hour and a half from now.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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