Senator Don Huffines spoke in favor of “constitutional carry” legislation Thursday morning at a press conference hosted by the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR). The small room located in Austin’s Historic Driskill hotel was filled with supporters including Open Carry Texas founder CJ Grisham, and representatives of Come and Take It Texas, Lone Star Gun Rights and a few Television stations. Not in attendance was Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), author of the constitutional carry bill HB 195, who was caught up in a floor fight over rules in the House.
The event opened with NAGR spokesman Dudley Brown expressing his disappointment that Texas was scored as the “14th most gun friendly state” even though we have a pro-gun reputation. He continued, “The concept is simple: no one should have to beg government bureaucrats for permission to defend themselves.”
Huffines agreed. Comparing the 2nd Amendment to the 1st he said, “we don’t get a permit to attend church. Government should extend that same level of respect to the Second Amendment.” He said he believed the practice of constitutional carry enjoyed broad support across the state and believed that by the end of session a bill would reach the Governor’s desk. Governor-elect Abbott has already said he would sign it.
Stickland’s Chief of Staff read prepared remarks from the Representative in support of HB 195 saying, “it’s embarrassing that Texas currently joins gun control states like California and New York in criminalizing open carry for self-defense.” He called the bill one of the best decisions he has made since being re-elected and called on his House-mates to back his efforts. He echoed Sen. Huffines remarks that the proposal has elicited widespread support — “the Texans in my district and all across the state are demanding it.”
Demanding is a proper characterization of the behavior that took place on the Capitol grounds when open carry advocates refused to leave a members office. That incident led to House members passing a measure to allow a “panic button” to be installed in Capitol offices that would alert DPS officers.
Asked about the kerfuffle, Huffines said he doesn’t, “know exactly know what happened with some of those actions,” but that the, “best approach is a civil, respectful, peaceful discourse and that’s the approach I’m going to take to get this legislation done.”
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