Since the previous legislative session, over a fifth of Texas counties had declared themselves to be a haven for gun rights and pledged not to enforce any new, unconstitutional firearm regulations.
Rep. Justin Holland’s (R-Rockwall) House Bill (HB) 2622 aims to expand that measure statewide by prohibiting the state and local government enforcement of certain possible regulations as long as such policies are not placed in state code.
Political subdivisions in Texas that attempt to enforce those regulations will be threatened with the penalty of having state funds cut off, and the attorney general is instructed to support individuals in jurisdictions where the policy is being enforced by entities under the state.
However, the federal government — including federal law enforcement — would not be prohibited from enforcing such new regulations.
The bill was given final approval by the Senate on Monday and is now in the process of being sent to the governor’s desk for signature.
Gov. Greg Abbott said near the beginning of the legislative session that he wanted to see such a policy enacted and has expressed his support for HB 2622.
Abbott said that Holland’s bill “would protect the Lone Star State from any new federal gun control regulations.”
“Don’t tread on Texas,” said Abbott.
But the new Second Amendment protection measure would only apply to certain new gun control regulations that aren’t on the books in Texas, specifically: a federal firearm registry, new licensing requirements, background checks on private transfers, and confiscation or buyback programs.
The bill does not list other potential federal gun control measures, such as a ban on the sale of certain types of firearms or firearm equipment.
Prohibited policies would be limited to anything enacted by the federal government after January 19, 2021, the day before President Joe Biden took office.
After being signed by the governor, the bill will take effect on September 1, 2021.
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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.