There's an interesting set of tactics that has swept across Texas politics over the last several years, and it really became obvious last session. At the beginning of the 2015 Session, Lt. Dan stated that he didn't "think there’s support in the Legislature to pass" Open Carry. This was indicative that Open Carry would suffer the same fate as it had in 2013 where it died in Committee. Groups like LSGR helped put pressure on the politicians to force the bill to a vote where it easily passed. In fact, the House voted 102-43 and the Senate voted 20-11! That's 2/3 of each chamber! So why did Lt. Dan say it didn't have support?
The tactic is quite genius when you look at it. By saying there is no support for a particular hot-button bill like Constitutional Carry, it is incredibly difficult for any group to prove otherwise. When pressed on the issues, every single one of these politicians will point to their voting record, which looks great. Their record will show them voting for Campus Carry, Open Carry, Constitutional amendments for hunting and fishing, etc. It is without question that their voting record would indicate their strong "support" for 2nd Amendment rights.
The problem is that Constitutional Carry bills have never made it to the floor for a vote. Constitutional Carry was filed last Session and Sen. Joan Huffman (R-17) was the Chairman of the State Affairs Committee that killed it in the Senate. The bills designated for consideration are set by her. Not one single time did she schedule the Constitutional Carry bill (SB 342) for consideration by the Committee. She single-handedly killed Constitutional Carry in the Senate last Session.
Further damning to her record is that on the Senate Floor, Sen. Huffman opposed an Amendment that would prohibit law enforcement from demanding an LTC "solely because the person is carrying in a shoulder or belt holster." During a debate with Amendment author, Sen. Don Huffines (R-16), she said the following (emphasis added):
"We're giving them the right in this legislation to openly carry in the State of Texas. No one is infringing upon that right, but the law and the Constitution gives the State authority to regulate this within reasonable means for the safety and security of the citizens of this State and of the United States of America... With certain rights come responsibilities, and there has to be some social order. It's just part of the world we live in."
Thank God she was gracious enough to give us the right to Open Carry. You can hear her comments here for yourself:
Despite all of this, at the end of the day, Sen. Huffman gets to tout her record as being "pro-2nd Amendment" because she voted in favor of licensed Open Carry (HB 910) and Campus Carry (SB 11). This Session, she is even an author of Lt. Dan's SB 16, which will eliminate LTC fees (at least as it stands now). Her track record that everyone looks at certainly appears as if she's pro-2nd Amendment, but if she was, she would never have killed Constitutional Carry.
The House is not any better. Rep. Larry Phillips (R-62) authored the licensed Open Carry bill that he and Sen. Huffman were so gracious to bless us with. Speaker Joe Straus (R-121) also appointed him as the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, meaning he dictated which bills the Committee considered. By killing the Constitutional Carry bill in Committee and authoring licensed Open Carry, Rep. Phillips gets to fly his faux-2nd Amendment flag high and proud. In reality, he merely authored the weakest 2nd Amendment liberty bill there was, killed the strongest, and now he gets to flaunt his title as a "2nd Amendment Champion."
The dirty tactics playbook for these Texas RINOs is as follows:
- Kill bills that you don't like in Committee and claim there isn't support for it.
- Only bring bills to the Floor that you like and already have the votes to pass so your record can shine.
- When people press you on issues you don't like, point to your faux-2nd Amendment record.
- Rinse and repeat.
Imagine for a second that Constitutional Carry is on the floor for a record vote. If it fails, these Republicans that really like their jobs will be on record as voting against the 2nd Amendment. They will likely vote for it to save their jobs, which means the claim that there "isn't support for it" is a HUGE lie. Their political future depends on their support once bills like this are on the floor. As Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-92) said during our exclusive interview with him, "[If] we can get [Constitutional Carry] onto the floor... I'm convinced that Republicans can't afford politically to vote 'No' against this bill."
We need your help more than ever. Please share articles like this one to social media to help us expose these dirty tactics. We also ask that if you have not yet done so, please sign our Constitutional Carry petition. This will amplify our voice so they cannot ignore us. Like us on Facebook and join the tens of thousands of like-minded liberty-loving individuals across Texas. Finally, please write your State Reps and Senators. Demand that they restore our rights to us in full. They work for us, not the other way around. Together, we will get Constitutional Carry passed in 2017!