Last night, Governor Brewer signed into law House Bill 2535. This NRA-supported legislation improves the process for obtaining a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) certification when a signoff is required for the transfer of a firearm or other item regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA).
We need this legislation in Texas. With the pending NFA rules changes from the BATFE, this would go a long way toward preventing 2nd Amendment hostile chief law enforcement officers (CLEOs) from arbitrarily denying signatures to citizens.
A CLEO signature does three things. It certifies that the applicant lives in the CLEOs jurisdiction; the CLEO has no knowledge the applicant will use the firearm unlawfully; and the CLEO has no knowledge the applicant is prohibited from owning the weapon. There’s no inherent liability to the CLEO himself or the local government but, that is often the “reason” given for refusing the signature.
While Texas is generally a gun friendly state, the larger municipalities and some counties aren’t always so friendly. As an example, the current Harris County Sheriff and Houston Police Chief will generally refuse to provide CLEO signatures. That’s not saying CLEO signatures can’t be had in Harris County but, it’s not often through those “obvious” channels. It would be nice if it were a violation of state law for these men to refuse signatures to non-prohibited persons. Heck, make it a felony. Wouldn’t that be something, a police chief in general population all because of his political bias.