Having passed both the Texas House and Senate, licensed open carry heads to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s desk to be signed into law. While many applaud the bill as an advancement of gun rights in Texas, many others take issue with the Republican-controlled legislature’s inability to fulfill the Party platform’s legislative priority, Constitutional Carry. In fact, there is a resolution due to be presented to the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) this weekend that seeks to commend those representatives who championed the Constitutional Carry priority in the Republican Party Texas Platform and rebuke those Republican leaders who actively blocked it.
Jeremy Blosser (SREC Committeeman – SD10), who has been fighting for gun rights and other liberty issues in Texas for some time now, is set to deliver the resolution to the SREC this weekend. If you don’t know the history it is really quite simple, as Mr. Blosser points out in his resolution; See Full Resolution HERE.
Delegates to the 2014 State Convention of the Republican Party of Texas overwhelmingly adopted a single legislative priority for the 2015 Legislative Session, Constitutional Carry, stating: “We call upon the 84th Texas Legislature to propose to the people of Texas a constitutional amendment to strike ‘; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime’ from Article I, Section 23 of the Texas Constitution,” and “we request the State Party Chair and the State Republican Executive Committee consider adoption of such an amendment and other legislation necessary to remove restrictions on Texans’ right to own and bear arms a legislative priority for the Republican Party of Texas for the 2015 legislative session”
Jeremy says it was “overwhelmingly adopted,” but the vote for the legislative priority was in fact unanimous. He goes on to point out that all of those legislative priorities were met by bills filed early in the session;
Representative James White (R-HD19) filed HJR56 to provide for the above constitutional amendment, and Representative Jonathan Stickland (R-HD92) and Senator Donald Huffines (R-SD16) filed HB195 and SB342, respectively, to otherwise implement Constitutional Carry in Texas.
The resolution calls for these representatives to be commended for their actions and their representation of their constituents and the Party platform priority. However, Constitutional Carry never made it out of the gate this session, the bills died in committee in both the House and Senate without ever getting a hearing and Constitutional Carry amendments were consistently blocked from debate during the process of passing the licensed open carry bill.
The resolution calls for the official rebuke of Representative Larry Phillips (R-HD62) as the Chair of the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee of the House and Senator Joan Huffman (R-SD17) as the Chair of the State Affairs Committee of the Senate for not bringing the Constitutional Carry bills up for public hearing. Further chastising Representative Phillips for stating publicly “that he did not schedule HB195 for a hearing because of a personal conflict with the bill’s author.” It also files a complaint against Sen. Huffman for promoting “amendment language that would classify unlicensed carry as a second degree felony in Texas.” Both violating the Party platform legislative priority.
The resolution goes on to call for a rebuke of Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, and Speaker Pro Tempore, Dennis Bonnen, as well.
Speaker of the House Joe Straus (R-HD121) and Speaker Pro Tempore Dennis Bonnen (R-HD25) refused to allow bill amendments in favor of Constitutional Carry even to be laid out or discussed in the House so that the Members could hear them and judge if they were germane.
While the signing of the open carry legislation that did pass seems inevitable, the fate of this attempt to seek accountability for Texas Republican leaders for their failure is not so clear. It is due to be presented to the full SREC this weekend and pass or fail, it will likely be overshadowed by the Governor signing the licensed open carry bill into law. Regardless of the outcome, it is refreshing to see that there are still some, like Jeremy Blosser, who are willing to hold our elected officials accountable and shine a light on the inner workings of our legislatures.