Gun-Rights Advocates Gearing Up For New Legislative Session

As the state Legislature is set to reconvene this week, many gun bills both new and familiar will soon be introduced that may affect the Texas firearm landscape.

Proponents for an expansion in gun rights are poised to re-file several bills that have stalled in past sessions and are optimistic about passage this time around. But legislators said it could be months before the new bills are scheduled because of other high priority topics.

“There are a lot of high profile bills being proposed in Austin,” said Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland. “But the biggest thing on everyone’s plate is redistricting and balancing the budget.”

The two biggest issues the Texas State Rifle Association, the Texas affiliate of the National Rifle Association, are working on this session are both carryover bills from the previous years: Allowing employees to carry firearms in their locked vehicles on company property and the ability for students to carry guns on campus, said Alice Tripp, the legislative director for the TSRA.

The TSRA intends to push through both bills this session while Republicans maintain a super-majority, Tripp said.

“Our biggest opposition is big business and big campus,” Tripp said.

She added that these bills should be fundamental rights for people who pass background checks and go through proper gun training programs.

The Texas Senate has passed the employee carry bill in the past two sessions but the bill stalled in the House each time. Tripp said her organization has been in communication with the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, and said that he is prepared to file the bill once again.

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