Texas Legislature
9:54 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Weekend Recap: Texas Is Well Armed And Ready For Action

Lawmakers came out of  "O.K. Corral Day" sending a clear message as over 95 percent of all gun bills heard during House’s first working Saturday were approved. 

There were administrative gun bills like House Bill 485 by Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston, which reduces the cost of a CHL t0 $95 and only charges military veteran and police officers $25 to obtain a license. 

However, one bill, House Bill 972, led to healthy back and forth. The bill by Rep. Allan Fletcher, R-Cypress, allows all universities the option of allowing CHL holders to carry their guns to school.

"I didn’t file this bill so the concealed handgun license could be heroes in mass shooting situations," Fletcher said. "Rather I filed this bill to allow CHL holders to protect themselves in situations where only two involved are a law-abiding citizen and criminal intent on doing them harm."

Fellow lawmakers raised issues with the bill, one of which was an amendment that bans students and college staff from carry a weapon during any on-campus mass gathering.

Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington, took issue with the fact university presidents would be the ones deciding whether or not a college campus would become a campus-carry zone.

"Sometimes university presidents have different perspectives on things than their corresponding board of regents, would you agree? Board of regents are political appointees are the they not, so my question is: Is the intent of your bill structured in a way to keep the politics out of it from political appointee?" Turner said.

After several hours and two point of orders the bill passed.

Another bill that received a lot of heat on the House floor was House Bill 1077, called "The Firearms Protection Act," and was authored by Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands.  

The bill prohibits any federal gun legislation from affecting Texas and directs the attorney general to litigate against any such federal law.

"This bill is simply about making a political statement that we don’t like what’s going on in Washington D.C.  And we are going to pass a law that is completely unenforceable and that we are going to pass some version of nullification in 2013 when nullification was a case decided in Andrew Jackson’s time in office," Turner said.

Other gun bills that passed included House Bill 1009 by Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, which creates a school marshal program for public schools where a teacher or administrator would be trained  to respond during a school shooting.

"This is actually designed for elementary schools," Villalba said. "So what we did is looked at the average size of the elementary school, which is 500 or so, and we wanted to provided one school marshal per school because we recognized in larger schools there are probably school resource officers."

House Democrats fear that the bill will jeopardize future federal funding and cause the state to spend millions of dollars in legal fees. The bill passed out of the House on a vote of 83 to 53.