Monday, May 10, 2021

Texas Constitutional Carry Committee Recommends Passage to the Texas Senate

 Link to video (over 10 hours)

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick's efforts resulted in the creation of the Senate Special Committee on Constitutional Issues. The committee hearing started at 9 a.m on 29 April, 2021.

Lt. Governor Patrick and other Republicans were and are receiving intense pressure to pass Constitutional Carry. It was listed as one of the top eight priorities in the Texas Republican Party Platform, and by Republican Chairman Allan West.

While Lt.Governor Dan Patrick worked to set up the special committee, he was in negotiations with various Texas law enforcement agencies and associations to see if they could find a way to support Constitutional Carry. Some amendments were offered to gain support of law enforcement.

Two amendments which were mentioned were these:

An amendment which creates a mandatory five year sentence for felons in possession of a firearm.

An amendment which would allow law enforcement to ask prosecutors in adjoining counties to prosecute when prosecution by a local prosecutor was refused.

While Lt. Governor Patrick was working the Senate, Governor Abbot committed to signing HB1927 if it came to his desk. The Commitment of both Lt Governor Patrick and Governor Abbott to Constitutional Carry had been questioned. Both have committed to passage of the bill, possibly with amendments favored by law enforcement.

The committee hearing was live streamed.

Tara Mica of the NRA was the first invited speaker, and did an excellent job.

While this correspondent did not watch the entire 10 hours of the hearing, in the opinion of this correspondent, the star of the committee hearing was Rachel Malone of Gun Owners of America.

Rachel is the Texas representative of Gun Owners of America. Rachel fielded the questions put forward by the committee members with competence, eloquence, and flair. Rachel has been working to pass Constitutional Carry in Texas for several years.

Ray Hunt of Houston Police Union moved to a "cautious neutral", because of a possible amendment to create a five year mandatory prison sentence for a felon in possession of a firearm. Hunt said the bill will not change metal detectors at capitol, where an License To Carry (LTC)  will still be required. University carry will still require an LTC.  Officer Hunt stated  when police see the LTC, we feel safe. Officer Hunt seemed to state police wanted to be able to stop handgun carriers, just because they were carrying a handgun, without reasonable suspicion of a crime.

The police wish to be able to go to other adjacent counties to prosecute, when the county district attorney refuses to prosecute. Officer Hunt said the police had difficulty with the Harris County prosecutor refusing to prosecute felon in possession cases.

Senator Hinojosa told Officer Hunt he would only be able to obtain the amendments if the bill went to the floor of the Senate. He implied, if Hunt wanted to kill the bill, the committee was the place to do it.

Sheriff Brian Hawthorne of the Sheriffs Association also came out in a cautious neutral position on the Bill. He said a large majority of sheriffs were in favor of the bill, but his association was only willing to occupy a neutral position because of concerns of some of the members. He could not take a position on hypothetical amendments until they were put forward to all the members of the association.

Sheriff Hawthorn said the Association was neutral on the bill, leaning toward it with small changes. He said most guns are stolen from cars, if people can keep their gun with them, the numbers stolen will be lowered. He particularly wanted lock boxes to be available at court houses, to help keep people from leaving their guns in their cars.

Sheriff Hawthorn said numbers of sheriffs in favor of the bill are high.

The committee was run extremely well run. It was done politely. Everyone who wished to speak had a chance to do so. One person testifying said she knew the bill would pass the subcommittee, this was just a formality, but she wanted to be on record opposing the bill. This correspondent noted roughly equal numbers supporting and opposing the bill.

The last testimony occurred about 7 p.m. Over 10 hours of testimony was given, with over 180 people testifying.

No amendments to the bill were passed in the committee. Any and all amendments may be considered on the floor of the Senate.

The bill came to a vote very shortly after the long hours of testimony. Five of seven senators voted to recommend passage of the bill and move it to the floor of the Senate. Those five senators were:

Charles Schwertner, R, District 5

Brian Birdwell, R, District 22

Dawn Bukinghan, R, District 24

Brandon Creighton, R, District 4

Bob Hall, R, District 2,

The two senators voting against the bill were:

Juan Hinojoso, D, District 20

Eddie Lucio, D, District 27

The creation of the Special Committee on Constitutional Issues was key in moving this bill to the floor of the Texas Senate.  It may be the key to the passage of Constitutional Carry in Texas. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick deserves credit for this.

©2021 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch 

Update. An amended version of the bill has passed in the Senate.  At minimum it has to be passed in the House, again, before it can be signed by Governor Abbott. 

If this happens, Lt. Governor Patrick and Governor Abbott will both deserve credit for listening to their base and supporting the bill.


Anonymous said...

Didn't the Ninth Federal Circuit court just rule that most of those desired amendment are unconstitutional????

Anonymous said...

Using a prosecutor from another county disenfranchise the voters of the county that elected the DA that refused to prosecute. A DA from another county has no legal authority to move a case where that DA was not elected. IF the sentence was not long enough to rehabilitate the felon change the law. If you are free to walk the streets you have the right of self defense. Once the sentence ends that is full payment for your debt to the society you violated. You are sentenced for a specific period of time. It is not for the rest of your life and you have the right to protect that life as long as you have it. If you can not be rehabilitated stay in jail until you can be. People that commit assaults never ask if you have an arrest record. No one wears a sign stating they can not be criminally assaulted because they are a felon. Any one has the GOD given right to defend themselves. Behind bars the guards are responsible to defend you. No one buys a car and makes payments on that car for the rest of their life. when the debt is paid that is the end of the payments. Even when you are out of jail and on probation you have the right of self defense because you left the guards behind. The reason I carry is because cops are to heavy and there are not enough cops to go around for everybody to have one. Beside that I am a better shot than most cops and I would rarely shoot to kill. Cops always shoot to kill. Give a person enough holes to pug with their fingers and they will not have enough fingers to hold the gun to shoot back. Most cops barely qualify to carry loaded weapons.