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News News
House Debates Firearm Legislation
Article By: by Texas State Rep. Larry Phillips
Posted: 5/6/2013 Views: 1484  Impressions: 7164
Categories: Politics



This Saturday, May 4th, the House took up and debated several bills relating to the carrying and use of firearms. My office has received numerous phone calls and emails on some of these bills, and I know that these issues are important to many people in District 62.
In light of the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, reported to be the most deadly shooting at a public elementary school and the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, school safety and the protection of America's children have become critical issues of concern for parents, administrators, lawmakers, and members of the public. In an effort to provide an additional option for protecting students, faculty, and other staff in Texas schools, House Bill 1009 would authorize a school district or open-enrollment charter school to appoint school marshals to prevent or abate the commission of an offense in the event of a life-threatening situation that occurs on school premises. School marshals would be required to successfully complete a rigorous training course administered by the Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) and required to be certified by TCLEOSE to be eligible for appointment.
Currently, a person seeking to obtain a concealed handgun license to submit two complete sets of legible and classifiable fingerprints taken by a person appropriately trained in recording fingerprints who is employed by a law enforcement agency or a certain designated private entity. Department of Public Safety (DPS) rules require the fingerprints to be taken digitally at an approved facility. Accordingly, many citizens in rural areas must travel between 60 and 100 miles to reach an approved facility to have fingerprints prints taken. In an effort to provide an alternative method of fingerprinting to accommodate people who live far from these facilities, H.B. 698 requires DPS to establish procedures for the submission of fingerprints by an applicant for a concealed handgun license who does not reside within a specified distance of a fingerprint processing facility.
H.B. 1076 would create the Texas Firearm Protection Act, which would prohibit any governmental entity within the state from adopting a rule, order, ordinance, or policy under which the entity enforces a federal regulation enacted on or after January 1, 2013 that restricts the possession or use of a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition.
Current law makes it an offense for a person to possess or go with a certain weapon, including a concealed handgun, on the premises of a Texas school or institution of higher education. House Bill 972, commonly referred to as the "campus carry" bill, would allow for concealed carry on higher education campuses. As of this writing, the specifics of the bill are being debated by the floor of the house, and several amendments to the bill are being offered.
For more information on these bills or any other matter of state government, please contact my office by writing to P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910 or by e-mailing me at larry.phillips@house.state.tx.us.




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