The bills are not identical, though, so the state House or Senate will need to pass the other chamber’s bill in order to fulfill Gov. Greg Abbott’s call to send such a policy to his desk.
Abbott himself has come out in favor of the House version, House Bill (HB 2622), titled the “Second Amendment Sanctuary State Act.”
The bill, authored by Rep. Justin Holland (R-Rockwall), was approved by the House State Affairs Committee in early April and was approved by the whole lower chamber in an 89 to 56 vote on Thursday. It needs one more formal vote before it will be sent to the Senate.
“Politicians from the federal level to the local level have shouted, ‘Heck yes, the government is coming to get your guns,’” tweeted Abbott. “Not in TX. TX MUST be a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary State — [HB 2622] would make that happen.”
In the form approved by the House, HB 2622 would only prohibit the state or local enforcement of a gun registry, a license requirement for firearm possession, background checks for private transfers, and any firearm confiscation or mandatory “buyback” programs.
Meanwhile, the Senate voted out a different bill along party lines on Wednesday.
Titled the “Texas Firearm Protection Act,” Sen. Bob Hall’s (R-Edgewood) Senate Bill (SB) 513 is similar to HB 2622, but is more forceful.
Hall’s legislation is a companion bill to Rep. Steve Toth’s (R-The Woodlands) HB 112, which was also referred to the House State Affairs Committee but never received a hearing.
Notably, Abbott helped write an earlier version of the legislation when it was first introduced years ago while he was the state’s attorney general.
Unlike HB 2622, which only applies to a specific list of potential federal firearm laws, SB 513 would prohibit the state or local enforcement of any new federal regulation “that purports to regulate a firearm, a firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition if the statute, order, rule, or regulation imposes a prohibition, restriction, or other regulation [. . .] that does not exist under the laws of this state.”
Moreover, the Senate Second Amendment sanctuary bill would establish a Class A misdemeanor for any individual who enforces such prohibited federal regulations.
The House had an opportunity to add a similar provision to their version when an amendment from Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City) was put forward to impose the lowest-level state felony on individuals who enforce the prohibited legislation.
However, Holland and several other Republicans joined with most Democrats to vote Slaton’s amendment down in a 44 to 100 vote.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.