The following bills were heard and approved by the committee on Thursday:
- Senate Bill (SB) 18 would repeal the provision in the Texas Disaster Act that permits the regulation of firearms while the state or region is under a disaster declaration.
- SB 19 would prohibit state agencies and political subdivisions in Texas from entering into a contract with businesses that discriminate against firearm companies or organizations.
- SB 20 would require hotels to permit guests to carry firearms to their private rooms, though hotels could require the weapons to be carried concealed or in a case.
- SB 513, also known as the “Texas Firearm Protection Act,” would make Texas a “Second Amendment sanctuary” and prohibit state and local government entities from enforcing new federal firearm regulations that are not adopted in Texas.
- SB 550 would amend current regulations so that License to Carry (LTC) holders would be permitted to carry a handgun in any holster, not specifically a “shoulder or belt” holster.
- SB 737 would establish a training and certification program for first responders that would allow them to carry weapons even in “gun-free zones” while actively engaged in their first responder’s duties.
- SB 1253 would require the LTC program to remain in place even if constitutional or permitless carry becomes law so that LTC holders can make use of the license in states that recognize the license.
With the bills now reported favorably out of the Senate committee, they will make their way towards the chamber for a potential vote to send the legislation to the House.
Several similar pro-gun bills have already made their way out of House committees, though none have yet been brought before the entire lower chamber.
The House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee also went a step further than the Senate has thus far and approved two constitutional carry bills, House Bill (HB) 1911 and HB 1927, that would allow most Texans to carry a handgun without needing an LTC.
Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), the chair of the Calendars Committee where the legislation will go through before it can be voted on by the whole House, has signed onto both of the constitutional carry bills.
But if the hallmark policy of gun rights advocates is passed by the House, it remains to be seen whether or not the Senate would take up the legislation as well.
A few constitutional carry proposals were filed in the Senate and referred to the State Affairs Committee, but none have been scheduled for a hearing by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola).
The House and the Senate could also clash over what policy becomes the ultimate “Second Amendment sanctuary” bill that Gov. Greg Abbott has repeatedly said he wants to see on his desk.
While the Senate is now pushing forward Sen. Bob Hall’s (R-Edgewood) Texas Firearms Protection Act, neither its companion bill by Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) nor other similar versions in the House have received a hearing.
Instead, the House State Affairs Committee approved a simpler, somewhat less forceful iteration of a Second Amendment sanctuary policy in the form of Rep. Justin Holland’s (R-Rockwall) HB 2622.
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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.