On Saturday, as Texas hosted the National Rifle Association’s annual convention, the Texas House passed 12 gun bills to make it even easier to obtain and possess firearms in the state. The onslaught of legislation contains provisions to allow college students to carry handguns in class and to block any theoretical federal bans on assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition. The 12 bills, a veritable goody bag for gun rights advocates, passed easily in the Republican-dominated House.
Texas lawmakers introduced about twice as many gun bills this session as last year, generally in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. The state’s already forgiving gun laws will become even more permissive if even a handful of these bills become law. See a sample below:
No federal gun laws apply to the state. In a blatantly unconstitutional move, the House approved Rep. Steve Toth’s (R) proposal to exempt the state from any future federal laws to ban or restrict assault weapons or magazines. Federal law enforcement officers would be punished with up to 5 years in prison and a $50,000 fine if they tried to enforce these bans.
Guns in classrooms. Even after recent shootings at Lone Star College and near Texas A&M University, one of the newly passed bills now opens college classrooms to concealed weapons. Schools will be allowed to opt out if they choose. Separately, the Texas Senate approved a measure allowing college students to keep their guns in their cars on campus.
Armed marshals in schools. Public elementary, middle and high schools would select employees with concealed weapons permits to receive firearms training. These marshals would be granted access to guns in emergency situations.
Relaxed requirements to obtain concealed carry permits. The House reduced the number of training hours to get a concealed weapon permit by half, and allow individuals to renew permits online. Another bill passed would lower the handgun license fee for police, veterans, national and state Guard, and some Criminal Justice Department employees. The lost fees will cost the state up to $2 million.