According to Nathan Josiah of Gun Owners of America, Constitutional Carry bill (HB 357) is languishing in the State House.
Constitutional Carry (HB 357), introduced by pro-gun Champion Jonathan Stickland, would restore the gun rights of law-abiding Texans by removing the permit to carry a concealed firearm.
At first glance, it looks like Texas leadership, including Speaker Dennis Bonnen, does not want to prioritize Constitutional Carry or any legislation that drastically advances the gun rights of Texans.
HB 357 was originally assigned to the Homeland Security and Public Safety committee on February 22, 2019. Curiously, Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen named seasoned anti-gun Democrat Poncho Nevarez as the chair of the Homeland Security Committee. This move has rightfully earned Bonnen flack from pro-gun organizations such as Lone Star Gun Rights, who were “not surprised” by Bonnen’s decision.
As expected, Nevarez has been promising for weeks that the bill will be receiving a hearing “soon”. Now the Chairman of Homeland Security Committee announced that HB 357 will receive a hearing likely in April. Because of House deadlines and the quickly approaching May 27 session end date, Constitutional Carry appears to be on “life support” in Texas according to Nathan Josiah. On top of that, there is no companion bill in the Texas Senate.
Although Bonnen is not the main culprit behind Constitutional Carry’s lack of traction, Justin Delosh, the co-Founder and Legislative Director of Lone Star Gun Rights, said that Bonnen is still “the guy that could get Constitutional Carry moving”.
Delosh pointed out as well that Bonnen is also capable of placing “roadblocks” on Constitutional Carry. One of these roadblocks is Bonnen’s appointment of anti-gun Democrat Poncho Nevarez to the Homeland Security Committee.
In Delosh’s view, Nevarez will be used as a “strawman” by Bonnen in the case that pro-gun legislation like Constitutional Carry dies in committee. This way, Bonnen gets political cover for not letting Constitutional Carry legislation through and he can just pin the blame on Nevarez, who he ironically put in power in the first place.
With rival states like Oklahoma recently passing Constitutional Carry earlier this year, gun rights activists in Texas have become frustrated that their state is lagging on the issue of Constitutional Carry. Delosh also highlighted that part of this frustration is due to the fact that the Texas Republican Party has put Constitutional Carry as their “#1 legislative priority”, but the political class in Austin has not gotten the memo.
Derek Wills, the Senior Editor of Lone Star Gun Rights, also reiterated that Republic Party Chairman James Dickey “has been an outspoken supporter of Constitutional Carry” and that the failure of Constitutional Carry’s passage in Texas lies in Republican elected officials in Austin.
Concerns of Texas becoming the next Florida, a formerly pro-gun state where former Republican Governor and now U.S. Senator Rick Scott signed expansive gun control , have also been raised by activists across the state. Delosh believes that full-blown gun control won’t be signed under Governor Greg Abbott’s watch, but that red flag or other legislation “wrapped under the veil of security” could be signed instead.
If legislators in Austin don’t get on the same page with the state party and move Constitutional Carry out of committee, it looks like gun owners in Texas may be in for another legislative season of disappointment.
Democrats Introduce Expanded Background Check Legislation
Democrats are going to implement a background check which targets “extremism.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and California Congressman Mike Thompson brought forward legislation on March 2, 2021 that aims to broaden the federal background check system on firearms sales, according to a report by The Hill.
Under The Background Check Expansion Act, gun sales and purchases between all unlicensed sellers and buyers would be subject to a mandatory background check. The background checks would not be applicable for law enforcement officers, lending out firearms for the purpose of hunting, temporary transfers for self-defense, or family members gifting a firearm.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and 43 Senate Democrats have co-sponsored this bill. Thompson, who is the chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, reintroduced this legislation in the U.S. House
“For years, the bipartisan House-passed background checks bill languished in the Senate under Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Now, with Senate Democrats in the Majority, we have the opportunity to act on this overwhelmingly popular, lifesaving legislation to protect American communities,” Schumer declared in a press release.
According to a CBS News report, President Joe Biden has repeatedly called on Congress to pass stiffer gun control laws. This gun control bill will not pass so easily given how it will need 10 Republican senators to vote in favor of it.
Against the backdrop of the January 6 storming of the Capitol, such a background check will likely feature provisions that target so-called “extremists.” The ruling class has routinely lumped average gun owners with domestic extremists and will most certainly use recent events to justify encroachments on people’s right to bear arms.
Biden is a veteran of the gun control movement, as evidenced by his sponsorship of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. With Democrats in control of all branches of the federal government, they will certainly move to pass gun control. However, their success is not guaranteed due to moderate Democrats like Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Joe Manchin not being completely receptive to radical gun control that could alienate them from their more right-wing constituents.
Nevertheless, the Left has shown that it’s willing to act regardless of the political context. Keeping this in mind, gun owners must be ready to beat back any kind of gun control coming from D.C. Such fights will allow the Right to rebuild its forces and make a splash in the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential race.
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