Yesterday, a Texas state House committee passed bill that would ban the state from providing bulk lists of concealed carry permit holders to the federal government, something that agencies have requested elsewhere, and could potentially be used to harass or persecute lawful gun owners. The vote was 7-2.
Introduced by State Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston), House Bill 2359 (HB2359) would protect the Texas Concealed Handgun Licensing registry from being harvested by the federal government in bulk. The bill reads, in part:
The department, in response to a bulk request made by a federal criminal justice agency, may not provide to the agency a list of individuals licensed to carry a concealed handgun…
“We just believe that CHL holders [are] private to the state of Texas and should remain the property of the state and our local law enforcement agencies,” Rep. Bohac said.
HB2359 received its first hearing in the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee on Apr. 14. Rep. Bohac testified in favor of his bill.
“Currently, [the Department of Public Safety] must disclose to federal and state criminal justice agencies whether a named individual or individuals named in a specified list whether or not they’re a CHL license holder,” Bohac said during the committee hearing. “Items open to disclosure by DPS are the person’s name, date of birth, gender, race, zip code, telephone number and e-mail address.”
“HB2359 prohibits DPS from releasing bulk lists of unnamed individuals who are CHL holders to a federal criminal justice agency,” Bohac said.
HB2359 is an important measure because the federal government has already shown its willingness to collect this information from state agencies. It was revealed in 2013 that the Missouri Highway Patrol released a confidential list of concealed pistol licensees to the federal government at their request. It is unknown if this type of information sharing is going on in other states, but HB2359 would put an end to any such collusion taking place in the Lone Star State.
The bill will now be sent to the House Calendars committee for scheduling on the House floor.