Within the past month of bill pre-filing in the Texas Legislature, dozens of measures on firearms have been filed. Two of those bills would increase gun rights for Texans.

State Rep. Nicole Collier (D–Fort Worth) filed House Bill 408, which would permit previously charged convicts access to handgun licenses.

The legislation says that a person convicted of an order of deferred adjudication is allowed to apply for a handgun license as long as the order was entered against the person more than 10 years prior to their application for the license.

However, Collier’s measure includes more restrictions. The ex-convict would not be permitted to apply for a handgun license if they had been convicted of one or more of the following charges:

  •       Aggravated robbery
  •       Family violence/domestic abuse
  •       (Repeated) Child abuse/neglect, sexual assault/abuse, indecent assault, stalking, trafficking
  •       Burglary

On the other side of the aisle, State Rep. Jared Patterson (R–Frisco) filed House Bill 636.

Patterson’s measure would allow election judges to carry firearms at polling locations throughout early voting and on Election Day.

Under current Texas law, election judges are included in Penal Code Section 46.03, preventing them from carrying at polling locations. However, with Patterson’s measure, election judges licensed to carry a handgun would be exempt from that law.

The Texas GOP voted to include the expansion of gun rights in the legislative priorities for this upcoming session. The issue will continue to be a battleground in Texas, especially in the wake of the Uvalde shooting.

Currently, only two of the dozens of measures filed in the House are fighting for gun rights, but citizens are hoping for more.

The 88th Legislative Session will begin on January 10, 2023.

Concerned citizens may contact their elected representatives to ask how they will vote on such legislation.

Soli Rice

A journalist for Texas Scorecard, Soli is a new Texan with a passion for politics. She's excited to hone her writing skills and help spread truth to Texans.