State Rep. Jeff Cason (R–Bedford) is seeking to clarify state law to protect lawful citizens’ rights to carry a firearm while in a car.
Cason recently filed House Bill 2967, dubbed the “Protect Gun Owners’ Rights While Driving Act,” which clarifies the legal definition of “criminal street gang” when it comes to the lawful possession of a handgun in a motor vehicle.
Under current state law, Texans may transport a firearm in their vehicles if they are not members of a “criminal street gang.” However, many law-abiding citizens are incorrectly included in the indictment database because of the current legal definition for “member of a criminal street gang.”
Cason recently cited an example where a notable veteran who, after joining a lawful veterans’ biker club that served the community by raising awareness of breast cancer and honoring veterans, was wrongly entered into the criminal street gangs database after being pulled over by law enforcement.
The Texas Penal Code currently defines a criminal street gang as committing a criminal act by a group of people who are linked by some symbol, signs, or a leader. A citizen listed in the Texas DPS criminal street gangs database who is caught carrying a handgun in his or her car (or while riding a motorcycle) can be arrested for unlawful carry.
“A Texan’s right to carry their firearm while on the road should never be taken away without due process,” Rep. Cason said. “Clearly, this loophole in the law needs to be resolved so as to protect innocent individuals from unnecessary harassment by law enforcement.”
HB 2967 would require that a criminal’s involvement with street gangs be established by a court in the first place before they can be placed into the Texas DPS criminal street gang database and have their right to drive with a firearm revoked.
The bill is currently waiting to go to committee.
To contact your representative, you can visit Texas Scorecard’s legislative directory.