Senate Moving Quickly on Two Gun Bills

Campus-carry and open-carry are on the fast-track in the Senate

One thing is certain, our new Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is not afraid to lead off this session with the two most emotionally charged gun bills. Campus-carry (SB11 by Birdwell) and open-carry (SB17 by Estes) are scheduled for public hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee on Thursday, February 12, 2015. SB11 (campus-carry) has a total of 19 “authors,” enough to get the bill to the Senate floor for debate and for it to pass. SB17 (open-carry) has a total of 12 “authors” and it likely has the support of Senators who have not or will not formally “sign on” to SB17.

The companion Bill to SB17 (open-carry) in the House is HB910 by Phillips and it has a total of 66 “authors” of various categories, while the House companion to SB11 is HB937 by Fletcher with a total of “31” authors. While the fate of either bill in the House is uncertain, this is a lot of support for both campus-carry and open-carry. With both SB11 and SB17 on the fast track in the Senate, those Bills are likely to pass and be in the House before a committee takes action on their House companion bills.

Emotionally-charged testimony from the typical anti-gun crowd can be expected and pro-Second Amendment advocates in attendance need to remember that a few of those testifying will have lost loved ones to armed assailants. It would be inappropriate and downright un-Texan to attack these people personally. They are wrong on the gun rights issue, but threating them in a way other than as a gentleman or lady will not be well-received by the committee, or anyone else for that matter.

While it may be hard not to testify after driving to Austin and sitting for hours waiting for SB11 and SB17 to come up, everyone should know that the fate of a bill does not lie in the number of people who testify for or against it. In fact, the Committee would appreciate people signing in “for,” “against,” or “on” a bill so that their opinion is part of the record, but not testifying if your testimony would just be more of the same.

If you go to the hearing, above all be respectful to everyone whether they be Committee Members, fellow supporters of the bills, or our opponents. Do not let yourself be baited into being anything other than a statesman.