Monday, March 16, 2015

Texas Senate Republicans pass open carry

20-11, a pair of numbers we can get used to seeing much more often.

Licensed Texans would be allowed to openly carry handguns in a shoulder or belt holster – like the Old West – under legislation tentatively approved by the Senate Monday after emotional debate that sharply divided Democrats and Republicans.

The measure by Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, would join Texas with most other states in authorizing open carry of handguns – as long as the person has a state handgun license. Currently about 826,000 Texans have a concealed handgun license, nearly 3 percent of the state’s population.

The bill, approved on a 20-11 straight party-line vote, would be effective on Jan. 1, 2016. Texans can already carry long guns, like rifles, openly.

They called it a debate before the vote, but everybody had their minds made up long ago.  The Republicans, naturally, could not dare vote against it and survive a primary challenge next year.

Regarding concerns that many Texans will be fearful of people openly displaying guns in public places like parks, Estes suggested they should “get help somewhere.”

Senate Democrats tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to soften its impact. Among those were proposals to require annual background checks for license holders, more handgun training for licensees and retention clips on all holsters used to carry handguns. Most amendments were tabled on partisan 20-11 votes.

Democrats also claimed to have the support of the law enforcement community in Texas, which mostly testified in opposition to the bill at an earlier public hearing.


“Have you thought about the dangers you will expose to the men and woman who make up law enforcement in our state?” asked Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston.

Logic failed.  These are Republicans, after all.

(Sen. Royce) West also pressed Estes to name any law enforcement agencies or leaders who support his open carry proposal. “If none testified in favor, would you still move forward on this bill?” he asked, suggesting there was a good reason marshals and sheriffs in the Old West required cowboys to hang up their guns when coming into town.

The Republican tide on the open carry measure was aided by a change in Senate rules this session that reduced the number of votes needed to bring a bill up for debate. Instead of the previous two-thirds margin that was needed in the past (21 votes), the required margin is now three-fifths, or 19 votes. Republican currently hold 20 seats in the 31-member chamber.

One party rule.  But we knew this session was going to go down like this weeks ago.  One amendment that did pass seemingly will keep the Wild, Wild West off campus.  That bill is to be "debated" tomorrow.

One amendment that was adopted, by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, exempted college campuses from the open carry measure.

Texas law presently bans carrying concealed weapons while you're at an institution of higher learning, but SB 11 would allow it.  So that means -- once all this shit gets passed -- you'd have to hide your gun and holster once you get to college.  I think.

Then again, maybe the Senate Repubs will resolve any differences they may have between the bills and each other -- because they're the only ones that matter -- in a shootout on the Senate floor.  I think I'll mosey on down to the saloon and have me a shot of red eye to celebrate.  Before the shootin' starts.


Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

has it passed the House?

Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

No, it has not passed the House, but it will.

PDiddie said...

By a straight party vote, you can be certain.

(Well, there might be some Blue Ass Dog Democrats who vote in favor of it.)