Over a month ago, sophomore State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) officially requested a hearing for his bill, HB 195. Also known as “Constitutional Carry,” the bill would allow for the unlicensed open carry of handguns in areas of the state where concealed carry is currently allowed.
“It is past time that Texans have their Constitutional right to defend themselves fully restored. I believe that ‘shall not be infringed’ is one of the clearest statements in the Constitution, and requiring citizens to pay a fee and take a class is definitely an infringement,” Stickland said. “Could you imagine if we required you to take a class and pay a fee for your First Amendment right to free speech?”
Under state law, open carry of long guns (shotguns, rifles) is currently unrestricted. HB 195 would change law so that the same standard applies to handguns as well.
“It is perplexing to me that the same legislators that support your right to open carry rifles without a license in this State, would oppose that same right with a smaller, less powerful pistol carried in the same manner,” said Stickland. “With HB 195, I am just being consistent with the law the way it currently is applied to long guns. If we have the right to carry rifles without a license, we should have the right to carry pistols without a license,”
Although HB 195 has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, the bill has yet to receive a hearing or even be scheduled for one. Such inaction remains despite Stickland making the official request over a month ago. Earlier this week, Stickland sent a letter to Chairman Larry Phillips, asking him that he set an official date for the hearing.
Stickland’s unapologetic brand of conservatism has earned him no favors among Straus’ leadership team. As Tony McDonald noted, another one of his pieces of legislation, which ends in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, had still not been referred to committee until Stickland raised the issue on the floor, despite being filed on the first possible day. It is good to see that as has come to define his tenure, Stickland isn’t backing down, and is continuing to fight for conservative values.