• Several Lone Star legislators offer commonsense solutions designed to help protect school children
By Mark Anderson
AUSTIN, Texas—The Lone Star State is not bending so easily to the emotional winds of public opinion stemming from the slanted national discussion on firearms that borders on calling for civilian disarmament.
Fifteen Texas legislators, as the 83rd legislature opens, are floating about 20 pieces of firearms legislation. Some are in response to the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last December, and some are not. But AMERICAN FREE PRESS found three bold Texas lawmakers who are especially active in rationally surveying the facts and want workable solutions in distinct realms. This stands in stark contrast to Vice President Joe Biden’s federal task force and its nonstop insistence that kids and society at large cannot be safe until the law-abiding can only own the most basic of weapons, enabling the criminal element to exploit any imbalances in their favor.
The outcome of these Texas legislative proposals is not yet clear—there is a fickle governor to contend with, and the state legislature only meets every other year for 5-6 months per session—yet several of these bills could help close the “sanctuary” afforded to criminal gun users whenever misguided public policies render segments of society, such as schoolchildren, vulnerable to criminals who—go figure—do not obey gun laws.
Two practical examples are:
State Senator Brian Birdwell’s S.B. 182, designed to allow concealed-carry license holders (qualified students and faculty, lab technicians, general staff , etc.) to carry their concealed guns not just onto campus grounds outdoors, but also inside most standard college buildings, since the current state policy of not allowing them into any university buildings defeats the whole purpose of effective armed defense against violent intruders. Concealed-carry holders still could not take their guns into day-cares, hospitals and churches on campus grounds, meaning the rules would mirror society beyond the campus. Yet Birdwell feels his bill balances the law and makes it much easier to understand the rules and exercise the Second Amendment.
And then there is state State Representative Jason Villalba’s intriguing bill, the Protection of Texas Children Act. It creates a new kind of Texas peace officer, meaning that K-12 teachers, staff, coaches and administrators in Texas public schools would be deputized as certified state “marshals” and given some 80 hours of rigorous training. They would do their normal school duties while also serving as a non-uniformed defense corps in the schools. The bill is to be officially released on Wednesday, February 6, his press release stated.
VIDEO INTERVIEW: Mark Anderson interview with State Representative Jason Villalba
Beyond these notable bills, State Representative Steve Toth is addressing fundamental Second Amendment and 10th Amendment rights with his Firearms Protection Act.
“This [bill] fires a shot over the bow of the federal government that the Second Amendment still matters . . . [and] that the 10th Amendment still matters,” he said with firm resolution. “This bill sends a clear message to Washington that you can’t infringe on the Second Amendment rights of Texans; we will prosecute anybody—anybody—who infringes on those rights.” Details of the bill are still being worked out.
VIDEO INTERVIEW: Mark Anderson interview with State Representative Steve Toth
State Representative George Lavender is also crafting a bill to allow for the open carrying of handguns in public places.
Gun-Grabbing D.C. Legislators Use Tragedy to Push Agenda
• Same old crew of gun-phobic senators unite to ban firearms
The relentlessly anti-Second Amendment legislator, United States Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), introduced her new bill on January 24 to ban 157 specifically named “assault weapons” and strictly limit the capacity of both fixed and removable ammunition magazines. But unlike the assault weapons ban that she helped make into law from 1994 to 2004, this latest legislation, called the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, has no expiration date.
Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, as well as Democratic Representative Elizabeth Esty (Conn.) joined Feinstein in introducing the measure. Other cosponsors include Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).
For now, the most important task for AFP readers is to immediately flood the House and Senate with calls, letters and personal visits if possible against Feinstein’s latest civilian disarmament scheme. Her closest allies in her crusade include Democratic Senators Charles Schumer (N.Y.), and Dick Durbin (Ill.), so it is worth contacting them as well.
Feinstein and her ilk—among the most protected people on Earth—are announcing from the Beltway’s insulated confines that they are especially serious—and rather idiotic—about wanting to ban guns where they are already federally banned, such as in schools. They also indicated that diminishing the future weapons supply for the general citizenry is a key goal.
In a classic case of doublespeak—with the most offensive aspect of it being that Feinstein thinks informed Americans are too dim to notice—she said: “No weapon is taken from anyone. The purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time.”
To proactively work to prevent Americans’ future legal purchases of 157 variations of federally defined “assault weapons” is essentially a taking, by any reasonable definition. If enacted, the bill will diminish Americans’ longstanding choices—via their constitutionally protected right to bear arms—to obtain the practical tools needed to defend themselves from all serious threats, including rogue federal agencies.
But surely this intended “birth control” against so many types of guns—carried out by outlawing or heavily limiting the manufacture of new rifles and pistols, which meet the stretchable “assault weapons” definition—means the federal government would eagerly share in the disarmament plan.
Well, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to the Washington Times, plans to acquire thousands of “personal defense weapons”—which are darkly labeled as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians. Reportedly, DHS seeks “more than 7,000 AR-15s and matching 30-round clips” which are “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters.”
Rogue federal agents in the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Internal Revenue Service have histories littered with no-knock raids and assaults on home and business owners that have resulted in wrongful deaths, injuries and property destruction. The infamous federal assault on the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas 20 years ago comes most clearly to mind, which left 25 children dead.
Several sources say that, besides banning the manufacture, sale, transfer or importation of semiautomatic rifles and pistols that can accept detachable magazines and have at least one “military feature,” Feinstein’s legislation also would prohibit fixed (attached) ammunition magazines which hold more than a mere 10 rounds—not just the detachable kind that hold more than 10 rounds.
Also, the bill would “place new security requirements on people who already own such weapons.” These include “[requiring] people who already own assault rifles to use secure storage and safety devices and [bar] them from selling high-capacity clips,” as reported by United Press International. And while the bill apparently would “[exempt] assault weapons that are ‘lawfully possessed’ as of the date the bill is enacted, sales of exempted weapons would be subject to background checks.”
Short of gathering extensive data on the owners of exempted weapons, one wonders how the federal government could enforce such a provision.
Semi-automatic firearms, which fire one bullet per pull of the trigger, have been with Americans in one form or another for generations. But they apparently are so scary in the eyes of the heavily-armed federal government that even semi-automatic shotguns with folding or detachable stocks, pistol grips, forward grips or fixed magazines with room for more than five rounds may be targeted by Feinstein.
Unless he is “blowing smoke” to fool his opponents, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he believes this bill will not pass the Senate which the Democrats control. Feinstein admits it will be a major uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told Hearst Newspapers the new bill would “work hand-in-hand with heightened school security and mental health reform.”
Looking at mental health reform in terms of limiting the availability of powerful prescription “antidepressant” drugs would indeed be an interesting twist on this subject. However, that’s not in the bill. Isn’t it strange that banning guns seems acceptable but further investigating prescription drugs that have been linked to violent behavior is rarely mentioned amid the emotional aftermath of the December 14 events at Sandy Hook Elementary School?
Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor. Listen to Mark’s weekly radio show and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.