As much as we support HB195, and would like to see it pass, HB 308, seems like it may have an even better chance this session. Either would be a step toward restoration of 2nd Amendment rights but, HB 308 is a much more modest step in some ways and yet bolder in others. As with any legislation, you can’t make everyone happy. Given all the negative attention being brought to the open carry efforts by the antics of a vocal minority, HB 308 may have a better chance of passing than not.
For those who don’t know, HB195 was one of the first new pro gun bills introduced for the new legislative session. This bill seeks to abolish section 46.02 of the Texas Penal Code and allow open or concealed carry of a handgun in Texas without a license. It leaves in place, and applicable to both open and concealed carry, restrictions on carry in hospitals, churches, sporting events, and the “51% rule” with respect to bars/restaurants. Some argue it actually creates legal traps and unnecessary felonies.
In contrast, HB 308 does not do away with current CHL provisions in that a license to carry concealed would still be required. It does not address open carry at all. That’s the “bad news.” However, the bill does remove many of the offenses and penalties imposed by 30.06 and 46.035 that are not addressed by HB 195. No longer would you have to remove your before entering a school to pickup your child. Carry at a Six Flags amusement park, for anyone who still goes to such places, would be legal under HB 308 as well carry into . The CHL program itself rovides an easily referenced statical record to support removing the restrictions on where CHL holders can and cannot carry.
It’s doubtful both bills will make it to the governor’s desk. HB 195 is indeed a bold step toward Constitutional Carry but, it can be argued it doesn’t go far enough. HB 308 doesn’t make that leap but, eliminates many of the restrictions CHL holders find most irritating. We’ll see which one makes it but, it sounds as if support for open carry in the Legislature is consistently being undermined by a small minority who claim to be on our side.