Image: Texas Senator Charles Schwertner, Republican of Bryan, was the Senate Sponsor of House Bill 1927, which recognizes Constitutional Carry in Texas.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports with major contributions from Ashley Burke, Austin Bureau Chief to The Golden Hammer
Austin, May 5 – Constitutional Carry passed the Texas Senate on an 18 to 13 straight party line vote early this evening. A pall cast over the Senate floor, however, as popular and highly-respected Senator Brandon Creighton, Republican of Conroe, fainted right after the vote. Creighton had been in a car accident on Saturday and missed Senate activity both Monday and Tuesday as a result.
Senator Donna Campbell, an emergency room physician and Republican from New Braunfels, attended to Creighton before emergency medical personnel arrived. EMS workers have transported Creighton by ambulance to a local Austin hospital for emergency treatment.
The Constitutional Carry legislation, House Bill 1927, had passed both the Texas House and the Senate Special Committee on Constitutional Issues without amendments. Nevertheless, the Texas Senate passed House Bill 1927 with eight (8) amendments some of which were substantial.
Constitutional Carry, meaning if you can legally buy a gun, you can legally carry a gun without a government permission slip passed the Texas House on an 84 ayes and 56 nays bipartisan vote. State Representative Matt Schaefer, Republican of Tyler, was the primary Author.
The bill’s Senate Sponsor, Senator Charles Schwertner, Republican of Bryan, accepted all of the eight amendments before the Senate approved them. Schwertner was the author of two amendments to his own sponsored legislation.
The amendments to the Constitutional Carry legislation include:
- Disallowing certain dangerous criminals from the right to engage in Constitutional Carry;
- Allowing private businesses to ban Constitutional Carry from their establishments;
- Removing a clause allowing people, who in good faith carried a handgun into a prohibited place, to correct their mistake and leave the premises immediately without being subject to arrest;
- Enhancing criminal penalties for felons who carry a firearm;
- Maintaining current law that makes it a crime to carry a firearm in your motor vehicle while committing another crime.
During the debate on the legislation, Senator Schwertner explained, “The effects [of Constitutional Carry] are a very positive effect as far as the citizens of society and the safety of all individuals and society…There’s certainly crimes, problems with jobs, disintegration of the family structure. It’s a tough world to live in.” He further explained that Texans would still have the ability to pay a fee and obtain a license to carry, so that they could enjoy reciprocity in other states which have not enacted Constitutional Carry and still require a license to carry a handgun.
Senator Paul Bettencourt, Republican of Houston, said, “This bills separates the wheat from the chaff…and provide the liberties to ones that they deserve and to the others, who are criminals, the restrictions they need in a functioning society.”
Schwertner added, “The bill doesn’t affect the purchasing of or who can own a fire arm.”
Senator Donna Campbell, Republican of New Braunfels noted, “Gun free zones are victim zones.
Schwertner agreed with Campbell and said, “This bill doesn’t affect gun free zones under current law. 90% of the mass murders have been in gun-free zones. We need to look at where these places are and whether those prohibitions should be in place.”
With all of the Senate amendments, the legislation must now get through a House-Senate conference committee, which will seek to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate bills. Conference committees are often the location where legislation goes to die, particularly this late in the Session of the Texas Legislature.
Schaefer, the House Author of the legislation, expressed his concern on social media that the Senate amendments to Constitutional Carry are the “poison pill” Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick wanted in order to kill it.