Texas Legislature Ends Regular Session After Passing a Trio of Pro-Second Amendment Bills & Rejecting Gun Control Measures

The Texas Legislature adjourned from the 2023 Regular Session on Memorial Day and was immediately called back into a special session on property tax relief and human smuggling issues. The 140-day session saw the passage of a trio of NRA/TSRA backed bills and the defeat of countless attacks on your Second Amendment rights, including a proposal to ban the purchase and restrict the possession of firearms by law-abiding young adults ages 18-20.

The Texas House and Senate passed the following key measures:

House Bill 2837, by Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), prevents financial institutions and their agents from requiring the use of a firearms-specific merchant category code (MCC) to distinguish purchases at a Texas firearms retailer, rather than using a general merchandise retailer code or a sporting goods retailer code. It protects the privacy rights of lawful purchasers of firearms or ammunition by prohibiting the misuse of payment card processing systems to surveil, report or disclose these legal transactions.​ Gun control advocates successfully pressured activist banks on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to create a unique MCC for licensed firearms dealers. Now, they are pushing lawmakers to require credit card companies to use these MCCs to gather data on and track lawful firearms purchases. Since the federal government is prohibited by law from creating and maintaining a registry of gun owners, they are attempting to outsource this effort to the private financial sector. This bill has been sent to Governor Abbott for his signature!

House Bill 1760, by Rep. Cole Hefner (R-Mount Pleasant), addresses roving "gun-free" zones created when school activities take place off-campus in public buildings or private venues, such as the Capitol, zoos, and libraries, by limiting restrictions on firearms possession to actual premises owned by, and under control of, a school, or locations where high school, collegiate, and UIL activities as described in Penal Code Section 46.03, are taking place. Without this important clarification, the "school activities" provision in 46.03 can be misapplied to include any place students are ever-present or anywhere "educational activities" are taking place off-campus.  This bill has been signed into law by Governor Abbott! 

House Bill 3137, by Rep. Carrie Isaac (R-Wimberley), restricts municipalities or counties under the state firearms preemption law from requiring firearm owners to obtain liability insurance. This bill has been sent to Governor Abbott for his signature! 

A record number of gun control bills were filed by members of the minority party this session, including:  

12 so-called universal background check bills or restrictions on private firearms transfers;
8 "red flag" firearms surrender scheme measures lacking due process protections;
21 bills creating unconstitutional restrictions on firearms or ammunition sales to young adults; and
9 bills proposing magazine limits and bans on semi-automatic firearms.

One significant gun control measure did advance from a House committee, but it was ultimately not voted on by the full House: NRA/TSRA opposed House Bill 2744, by Rep. Tracy King (D-Uvalde), legislation restricting the rights of young adults ages 18-20 to purchase most semi-automatic rifles. Two Republicans -- State Reps. Justin Holland (R-Rockwall) & Sam Harless (R-Houston) -- voted with six Democrats on the committee -- the bill sponsor and State Reps. Jarvis Johnson (D-Houston), Joe Moody (D-El Paso), Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), Rhetta Bowers (D-Garland) & Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin) -- to move the bill forward. At age 18, citizens are eligible to vote, be drafted, serve in the military, serve on a jury, enter into contracts, sue and be sued, get married, and own property. Restricting their right to purchase and own firearms is unconstitutional and will not reduce crime. The firearms banned for sale by the bill tracked the definition of "assault weapon" used by Biden's appointee to ATF: "a semi-automatic rifle that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine and that has a caliber greater than .22." This included nearly EVERY modern semi-automatic rifle. The measure would have made it a FELONY to sell, rent, lease, loan, or give a person who is under 21 years of age any semi-automatic rifle as described, and it included not just a ban on the commercial sales of any of these rifles, but also the temporary loan, the temporary transfer of possession, and the gifting of these firearms to 18-20-year-olds, with limited exceptions.