Restoring Our Second Amendment Rights
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Our right to self-preservation is God-given. Americans do not need government permission to exercise their First Amendment rights to speak freely or worship as they see fit, and they shouldn't be forced to get a government permission slip to exercise their Second Amendment right to protect themselves and their families, either.
That's why I sponsored Senate Bill 342, the Texas Constitutional Carry Act. This legislation would have allowed law-abiding Texans to possess a handgun without having to obtain a concealed handgun license. Constitutional carry would also allow a Texan to carry their handgun openly or concealed, according to their preference. This will bring our handgun laws into line with how the state regulates the carrying of rifles and shotguns (which Texans can currently carry openly without a license).
Unfortunately, Senate Bill 342 did not advance out of the Senate this session. I was proud, however to have joined all my Republican colleagues in supporting other pieces of legislation which do expand Second Amendment liberties. Senate Bill 11 - the Campus Personal Protection Act - will allow concealed carry on the campuses of Texas’ public universities by CHL holders (who must be 21 years of age or older). I don't believe that faculty, staff, or students leave their Second Amendment rights at home when they enter college, just like they don't lose their First Amendment rights. I voted enthusiastically for the campus carry legislation.
I was also very pleased to have joined the coalition which passed House Bill 910. This legislation will give Texans with a handgun license the option to carry their weapon openly if they so choose. Additionally, I stood up to defend the rights of Texas gun owners by successfully adding an amendment to House Bill 910 which would prevent law enforcement from harassing law-abiding, openly-carrying Texans. It emphasized that the simple act of carrying a handgun is not criminal or suspicious. Unfortunately, though this amendment had passed both the House and the Senate, there was not enough support to keep this provision in the final open carry legislation. It is disappointing that this Fourth Amendment protection language did not remain in House Bill 910. Nevertheless, I supported open carry and will remain vigilant during the law's implementation (which beginsJanuary 1, 2016) to ensure that citizens who exercise their Second Amendment rights are not unduly harassed.
Our legislative leadership should be commended for expanding Second Amendment rights during this session, but I know we can do more. I will continue to fight for legislation that will allow Texans to exercise their God-given rights to self-defense without having to first obtain a government issued permission slip. With your continuing assistance, we can make the Lone Star State a national leader on Second Amendment freedoms.
I appreciate your constant support and hope you will continue to stay involved.