In honor of Bill of Rights day, I feel that it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of market restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms.

A recent study from professors at the University of Michigan and University of Maryland researched whether California’s stricter policies toward gun shows were more beneficial than Texas’ more hands off approach. This is important as many gun control advocates want to impose background checks on all sales at gun shows or totally eliminate gun sales between unlicensed citizens. This is what the media calls the “gun show loophole”. The study found that California’s regulations had no effect on gun-related deaths (homicides and suicides). In Texas, the number of gun-related deaths actually decreased in the nearby areas during the two weeks following gun shows, albeit only slightly. The study does not suggest that more gun shows would reduce crime, only that the regulation of gun shows is ineffective.

A summary of the study can be found here:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081001184106.htm

The full text is available here:
https://www.closup.umich.edu/research/workingpapers/papers/gunshows-sept08-final.pdf

Currently, most Texans are only allowed to purchase rifles and shotguns from Texas and its neighboring states. Rep. Steve Bonnen (R-Angleton) has introduced HB 267, which would allow residents of our state to buy these weapons from any of the other states in the union where gun sales are legal. The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits the interstate transfer of handguns, except between Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). All handguns must be purchased in a citizen’s own state.

On the other hand, some people feel that self defense products are too easy to acquire. In the state senate, Leticia van de Putte (D-San Antonio) has introduced SB 94. This bill would require individuals who want to buy a stun gun to obtain an H-1 “stun gun license”. The license would be issued upon completion of a safety training course and application process “substantially similar to the standards and procedural requirements for obtaining a license to carry a concealed handgun”. This would also make it illegal to sell and repair stun guns. Failure to display the new license would be Class B misdemeanor offense. Law enforcement would not be required to obtain the license as they are already trained for stun guns in the workplace.

On a related note, Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles (D-Beeville) has introduced HB 140. This would allow somebody to present an expired concealed carry license to law enforcement so long as they had already applied to renew the license. A minor bureaucratic tweak, but helpful nonetheless.

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