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Texas Gun Bills to Watch

The 2021 Texas Legislative Session is in full swing, and there are many bills Texans should carefully track. For instance, House Bill 1927, Senate Bill 550, House Bill 118, House Bill 513, and Senate Concurrent Resolution 20 could all drastically affect a Texan's ability to lawfully carry a firearm. Some of the proposed legislation includes: the institution of permitless or constitutional carry; a simplified holster requirement for the open carrying of a handgun in public; requiring private firearms sales to go through a Federal Firearms Licensed ("FFL") dealer and a National Instant Criminal Background Check ("NICS"); making Texas a Second Amendment Sanctuary state; and recognizing the 1847 Colt Walker pistol as the official handgun of the State of Texas.

As of the publish date of this blog post, the following are a current list of active legislation that is either pending or has progressed out of committee. The below summaries are not exhaustive, and the specific text of each bill may be found by clicking the corresponding link.

Constitutional Carry Bill Spotlight: House Bill 1927 (Read the text of the bill here.)

- Status: Passed the Texas House of Representatives by a vote of 87 to 58. The bill now heads to the Texas Senate for consideration.

Summary: HB 1927 would allow adults 21 and older (who are not otherwise prohibited from lawfully owning firearms) to carry a handgun in public without a Texas License to Carry a Handgun or a recognized license or permit from another state. Although it will not be necessary to have a Texas License to Carry to possess a handgun in public, there will still be benefits to having an LTC, such as the ability to carry in states that have reciprocity with Texas and not having to go through NICS to purchase a firearm from an FFL dealer.

Under the proposed bill (as currently written), peace officers will have the right to temporarily disarm individuals during a lawful detention if the officer reasonably believes it necessary to protect the person, officer, or another individual. The officer shall return the weapon to the person before discharging the person from the scene if the officer determines the person is not a threat to the officer, the person, or another individual, and the person has not committed a violation that results in their arrest.

Furthermore, the bill does not remove a property owner's rights to exclude firearms from their premises. Also, most prohibited places will still exist (schools, 51% businesses, courthouses, etc.).

Similar proposed legislation: HB 299; HB 1238; HB 1587; HB 1911; HB 2900; HB 4386; SJR 24; SB 540; and SB 545.

Simplified Holster Carry Bill Spotlight: Senate Bill 550 (Read the text of the bill here.)

- Status: Voted out of Senate Committee and placed on Intent Calendar to be voted on by the Texas Senate.

Summary: SB 550 contains amendments to Texas Penal Code Sections 30.05; 30.07; 46.02; 46.02(a-1); and 46.035. While this may seem like a lot, at its core, the bill aims to remove the qualifying language "shoulder or belt" before "holster" in these statutes. If successful, there would no longer be an amorphous definition or requirement for a legal gun owner to carry their handgun visibly in only a shoulder or belt holster. This change would give many Texans, including those with physical impairments, the ability to legally carry a handgun openly in whatever holster they find comfortable. Similar proposed legislation: HB 2112; HB 3682; and HB 4358.

Private Sales NICS Background Check Requirement Bill Spotlight: House Bill 118 (Read the text of the bill here.)

- Status: Left pending in House Committee.

Summary: HB 118 would require all private sales and transfers of firearms to go through a licensed gun dealer, or FFL. If passed into law, HB 118 will add a mandatory inclusion of an FFL to every firearms sale (unless they are related or the buyer is an FFL, peace officer, law enforcement agency, or has a valid Texas License to Carry a Handgun), requiring a full NICS background check and the payment of a transfer fee before a person can lawfully take control of their newly purchased gun. Similar proposed bills seek to add this requirement at gun shows only and not all private person-to-person sales.

Similar proposed legislation: HB 52; HB 218; HB 245; HB 606; HB 760; HB 1765; SB 163; and SB 242.

Texas as a Second Amendment Sanctuary Bill Spotlight: Senate Bill 513 (Read the text of the bill here.)

- Status: Voted out of Senate Committee and placed on Intent Calendar to be voted on by the Texas Senate.

Summary: SB 513 would transform Texas into a Second Amendment Sanctuary state, which will prohibit state and local-level law enforcement agencies, county attorneys, district attorneys, and other state agencies from adopting or enforcing purely federal gun laws which are deemed an infringement upon the Second Amendment. Specifically, SB 513 will penalize any of the aforementioned state actors who adopt measures against the proposed law by refusing to grant state funds. Private citizens may also file a complaint with the Texas Office of the Attorney General, who may then file suit against the offending state actor. Further, this bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor for a state actor to knowingly enforce or attempt to enforce a federal statute, order, rule, or regulation as described within SB 513 as an infringement upon the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Similar proposed legislation: HB 112; HB 635; HB 919; HB 2282; HB 2622; SB 499; and SB 541.

Recognizing 1847 Colt Walker Pistol Bill Spotlight: Senate Concurrent Resolution 20 (Read the text of the bill here.)

- Status: Voted out of Senate Committee, the committee report printed and distributed, and recommended for Local and Uncontested Calendar.

Summary: SCR 20 and HCR 15 are mirror image concurrent resolutions which would recognize the 1847 Colt Walker Pistol as the official handgun of the State of Texas. The text of the resolutions points out the historical importance of both the pistol itself and the co-inventor of the pistol, Samuel Walker, a captain in the Texas Rangers (the first state police agency in the United States).

Similar proposed legislation: HCR 15.

Author: Colm Keane

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website does not contain legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Every case is different, and this material is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of, a licensed attorney.

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