Gun Safety Just Flew Out The Window – Texas Senate Approves Open Carry Despite Bipartisan Drama

Gun safety be damned! On the night of Friday, May 22, the Texas Senate gave in to its firearm boner and approved House Bill 910, allowing licensed gun owners in the state to openly carry handguns. However, the bill did not easily pass, as an amendment proposed by Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) prompted the Senate chambers to divide and fight, even prompting intra-party conflict.

gun safety
Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The open carry bill was projected to sweep through the Republican-heavy Senate, but a bipartisan effort to amend the bill with language that limited police from stopping people solely because of a visible handgun caused the bill to get snagged. From the Texas Tribune:

?… the chamber plunged into rare unscripted territory, as Democrats and Republicans battled members of their own parties over an amendment from state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, that would prohibit police officers from stopping someone solely because they are visibly carrying a handgun.

The provision, which eventually passed, attracted support from Democrats who said it would help prevent racial profiling and conservatives who said it was necessary to protect the Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure of handgun license holders.?

Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) supported?Huffines’ amendment, despite their opposition to open carry. Said Sen. Ellis:

?If somebody is going to be profiled for walking around the streets of Houston or Austin with a gun, someone who looks like me is more likely to get stopped.?

Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) spoke out against?the open carry bill amendment, calling it a ?poison pill? for the legislation, a ?backdoor to constitutional carry,? and claiming that ?any person could just carry a gun without a license because they know the police can’t inquire of them if they have a license.? She also went on to say:

?This is a mistake, and I think it’s a mistake the state of Texas will come to regret.?

Her opposition to Huffines’ amendment was shared?by Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), and Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville). They claimed Huffines’ amendment to the open carry legislation would create unnecessary confusion for law enforcement and threaten overall support for the bill.

Joining Huffman’s opposition to Huffines’ amendment are law enforcement groups. They are concerned that the restrictions placed on law enforcement, per Huffines’ amendment, would ?lead to felons and those with mental health issues carrying?guns without fear of getting caught.?

H.B. 910, with Don Huffines’ amendment, passed the Texas Senate, 20 to 11. It now goes back to the Texas House and is expected to end up on Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Abbott has said he will sign any open carry legislation put in front of him, because of course he will.

With H.B. 910 out of the way, the Texas legislature can now focus on part two of turning Texas into Tombstone, as a vote on a campus carry bill is expected before June 1. Leave it to Texas to allow students stressing over exams to also be armed.

Robert could go on about how he was raised by honey badgers in the Texas Hill Country, or how he was elected to the Texas state legislature as a 19-year-old wunderkind, or how he won 219 consecutive games of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots against Hugh Grant, but those would be lies. However, Robert does hail from Lewisville, Texas, having been transplanted from Fort Worth at a young age. Robert is a college student and focuses his studies on philosophical dilemmas involving morality, which he feels makes him very qualified to write about politicians. Reading the Bible turned Robert into an atheist, a combative disposition toward greed turned him into a humanist, and the fact he has not lost a game of Madden football in over a decade means you can call him "Zeus." If you would like to be his friend, you can send him a Facebook request or follow his ramblings on Twitter. For additional content that may not make it to Liberal America, Robert's internet tavern, The Zephyr Lounge, is always open