As deadlines closed in on the House last week, lawmakers quickly and quietly moved a controversial gun measure from committee to the House floor for consideration.
Senate Bill 728 by State Sen. Joan Huffman (R–Houston)—already passed unanimously by the Senate—would add individuals who were diagnosed with certain mental illnesses or intellectual disabilities as children to the FBI’s “federal prohibited person” list, barring them from owning a firearm.
Opponents say there is no remedy in place for Texans who are added to the list erroneously.
Last week, SB 728 was quickly approved by the House Select Community Safety Committee and sent to the Calendars Committee.
The Calendars Committee, chaired by State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock), brought the measure before the full House on Tuesday.
The measure was initially approved by a majority of lawmakers by a voice vote.
According to House Sponsor Jeff Leach (R–Plano), SB 728 makes “the process more efficient and effective for keeping firearms out of the hands of Texans who don’t need to have them.”
Opponents say the legislation is more nefarious.
“SB 728 is a pathetic attempt at codifying part of Biden’s gun control signed into law last summer by dumping thousands of Texan names into the NICS Gun Ban Registry,” Chris McNutt, president of Texas Gun Rights, told Texas Scorecard.
“NICS is a horrendously flawed government registry that produces a 94 percent false positive rate for firearms purchase denials—meaning 94 percent of folks denied a firearms purchase by NICS are wrongly denied, law-abiding citizens usually because they have the same name, or a similar name, as a prohibited person,” explained McNutt.
“This draconian measure just inches Texas toward Biden’s goal of universal gun registration,” said McNutt. “NICS needs to be abolished, not expanded.”
SB 728 must be approved by the House in a third reading of the bill on Wednesday, May 17, before it can be sent to the governor for approval. Gov. Greg Abbott also has the power to veto the measure if he so chooses.