After one lawmaker ensured that Second Amendment legislation died in the Texas Legislature, the state’s largest ostensibly pro-gun group is singing his praises.
For years, Texas gun owners have argued that the Lone Star State lags desperately behind its peers when it comes to protecting citizens’ right to keep and bear arms. Despite the state’s beet red politics and vibrant gun culture, reforms expanding gun owners’ rights have been repeatedly stalled and delayed in the Texas Legislature—taking decades to pass.
But you wouldn’t hear any complaints from the Texas State Rifle Association. Rather than demanding real reform, the organization and its chief lobbyist Alice Tripp have been glossing over lawmakers’ failures for years, all while providing them “pro-gun” cover in their re-election campaigns.
This session, lawmakers had one serious pro-gun bill to consider: Constitutional Carry.
The number one priority for the Republican Party of Texas, constitutional carry refers to the removal of the licensure requirement for Texans to carry a handgun. In short: if you can lawfully own a handgun, you can carry a handgun openly or concealed.
The issue was embodied in two bills, a stronger measure authored by State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford) and a milder version by State Rep. James White (R–Lumberton). Though TSRA initially refused to even mention either bill, they were ultimately shamed into supporting them.
Indeed, TSRA joined other pro-gun organizations to testify in favor of both items at a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety chaired by State Rep. Phil King (R–Weatherford). But despite their testimony, King killed both of them.
Stickland’s HB 375 was never even brought up for a vote because King believed it to be too robust. Meanwhile, White’s HB 1911 was passed, but not until it was so late in the session that it was guaranteed to be killed in the Calendars Committee. Thanks to King, the fix was in and constitutional carry died.
However, TSRA isn’t criticizing King for killing a bill that they testified in support of – they’re fawning over him as one of the Texas Legislature’s “pro-gun champions.”
“Whether it was a personal protection issue, a hunting issue, or an issue of Second Amendment rights, your State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) has always listened to TSRA and to NRA, helped, advised and then voted with Texas gun owners,” gushes the organization’s chief lobbyist, Alice Tripp, in an email to gun owners.
“He continues to be the kind of person we know we can count on,” she adds.
But TSRA isn’t alone in celebrating even after the death of constitutional carry, they’re joined in their applause of the Texas Legislature this session by Moms Demand Action, a far-left gun control organization.
IT'S WORKING! After months of hard work by our volunteers, we shut down the gun lobby’s top priority in Texas: Permitless carry! pic.twitter.com/X9yo4rsaFG
— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) May 30, 2017
Gun owners know that if Moms Demand Action is celebrating a “Big Win in Texas,” that the Second Amendment has suffered a major defeat. Just as citizens hold their lawmakers accountable for their actions in the Texas Legislature, so too must Texas gun owners with organizations who claim to fight for them.