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Texas Legislature Early Filing Update: 11-11-2020

Did you know the 87th Texas Legislative session filing period opened on Monday, November 9? Your Texas State Representatives filed a record number of bills on the first day of pre-filing. State Representatives have already filed over 500 bills, and State Senators have filed over 150 bills.

Dozens of these bills relate to your gun rights—some good, some bad. Our GOA Texas Director Rachel Malone hosted a livestream in which she shared with GOA Activists details on some of these pre-filed bills and discussed how you can get involved moving forward.

These six notable bills would protect or restore some of your gun freedoms:

  • Emergency Powers Protection: these bills would remove the governor’s power to control the sale, transportation, and use of weapons and ammunition during a declared state of disaster or state of emergency (HB 26 by Rep. Valoree Swanson and HB 340 by Rep. Briscoe Cain)
  • Federal Firearms Protection: this bill would prohibit Texas from enforcing Federal gun grab laws enacted after January 1, 2021; entities that violate this lose state grant funds, and personnel who violate this can face a Class A misdemeanor (HB 112 by Rep. Steve Toth)
  • Anti-Red Flag Law Bill: this bill would prohibit any entity in this state from enforcing a “Red Flag” gun confiscation law that was not passed by the state, and would keep Texas out of any Federal Red Flag scheme (HB 336 by Rep. Briscoe Cain)
  • Permitless Carry: this bill, as filed, would allow people to carry handguns openly or concealed without a permit as long as they are eligible to get a License to Carry (HB 299 by Rep. Drew Springer)
  • End “Gun-Free” Zones: this bill, as filed, would exempt LTC holders from government-mandated “gun-free” zones (HB 304 by Rep. Drew Springer)

**Note that Rep. Springer has stated that HB 299 (permitless carry) and HB 304 (ending “gun-free” zones) are placeholder bills, due to delays in bill drafting, and is not intended to be the final language. He has expressed a desire to work with us to improve the language. GOA supports modifications to allow anyone who can legally possess a handgun to be able to carry the handgun, open or concealed, without a license. GOA also supports repealing government-mandated “gun-free” zones.

Several dozen anti-gun bills have been filed so far. These bills would trample your rights and restrict your ability to stay safe and defend yourself. Here are the main categories:

  • “Red Flag” gun confiscation: these bills would allow government to take away your guns before you’ve committed a crime—on the basis of “thought crime” (HB 164, HB 395, SB 110)
  • End Preemption: this bill would allow municipalities to regulate (or ban) possession, transfer, transportation, and carry of firearms (HB 238)
  • Repeal Stand-Your-Ground Law: this bill would repeal our current Stand Your Ground law, which says that if you are anywhere you have a right to be, you have no duty to retreat before using force necessary to save your life (HB 196)
  • Bans on commonly-used firearms and standard-capacity magazines: several California-style bills would ban many standard centerfire rifles, revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, and semi-automatic shotguns by defining them as “Assault Weapons” (HB 172, HB 231, HB 241), while other bills would ban magazines that hold over 10 rounds (HB 178, HB 234)
  • Universal Background Checks: several bills would generally require a background check on all sales or transfers of firearms (HB 118, HB 218), while other bills require a background check on transfers at gun shows, but define a gun show extremely broadly as 3 or more people assemble to sell guns or gun parts (HB 52, HB 245)
  • Banning Rifle Carry: these bills would ban the carry of rifles or shotguns outside of your property or other limited areas (HB 213, HB 127)
  • . . . and others, including ending campus carry, requiring all guns to be stored in safes, and raising the minimum age for purchase of semiautomatic rifles and shotguns.

Please listen to the video above for more details and insight. Note that it is normal for bill language to change throughout the bill process; these descriptions are very general descriptions of the bills as they were filed.

It’s also important to understand that this is not a final bill list. There will be many more bills filed. Later on, we will prepare an official list of bills to ask your legislators to support or oppose. But for now, here’s what you can do:

Take Action: Call the Capitol office for your State Representative and your State Senator today and tell them three things:

  1. I’m your constituent.
  2. “I want you to protect my right to keep and bear arms.
  3. “I want you to pass Constitutional Carry, so people who can legally own a handgun can carry it, open or concealed, without a license and end “gun-free” zones so I can be able to defend myself.”