Since the beginning of pre-filing in the Texas Legislature, lawmakers have been rushing to file measures that would take away many of Texans’ Second Amendment rights. While some lawmakers have pushed to expand gun rights, others have been fighting to block them.
Some of these measures would require reporting gun sales, banning certain guns, increasing gun taxation, and creating red-flag laws. State Rep. Joe Moody’s (D–El Paso) House Bill 22 , State Rep. Diego Bernal’s (D–San Antonio) House Bill 106, and State Rep. Vikki Goodwin’s (D–Austin) House Bills 284 and 324 all would require licensed firearms dealers to report lawful sales of certain firearms and firearm accessories so the government could create a list of firearm owners in the state.
State Rep. Gene Wu (D–Houston) also filed a gun control measure in House Bill 533. Wu’s legislation would expand the powers of police during a warrantless arrest to seize firearms as long as they are in “plain view” and are taken based on a police officer’s judgment that a person is “mentally ill.”
Similarly, State Rep. Terry Meza (D–Irving) filed House Bill 817, which would ban all “assault weapons.” Hand in hand with Meza’s legislation, Senate Bill 32 filed by State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D–Laredo) would ban the sale or possession of semi-automatic “assault weapons.”
The measures attacking firearm sales were filed en masse. State Rep. Shawn Thierry (D–Houston) filed House Bill 447, which would use taxes to increase the cost of firearms by 1,000 percent. State Rep. Julie Johnson (D–Carrollton) filed House Bill 544, which would instantly ban someone from purchasing a firearm if they have been convicted of domestic violence.
In addition to House Bills 284 and 324, State Rep. Vikki Goodwin (D–Austin) filed two more firearm measures. One of which, House Bill 236, would ban all private transfers or sales of firearms unless one of the persons involved is a federally licensed dealer. The other, House Bill 856, requires any business or person dealing with firearms post a warning sign stating:
Access to a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide, homicide, death during domestic disputes, and unintentional deaths of children, household members, and others. If you or a loved one is experiencing distress and/or depression, call the national suicide lifeline.
Legislation was also filed to ban the carrying of certain firearms. State Rep. Lina Ortega (D–El Paso) filed House Bill 216, which would make it illegal to carry a rifle of any sort in public, with no exceptions. Later, State Rep. Ron Reynolds (D–Missouri City) filed House Bill 761, which would make it illegal for Texans under 21 years of age to have a rifle. The Texas DPS recently dropped an appeal that allows all adults to exercise constitutional carry. This measure would take away the recent ruling and make constitutional carry illegal for adults aged 18-20.
The 88th Legislative Session will begin in a week, on January 10.
Concerned citizens may contact their representatives to ask how they will vote.