I just watched hours of debate in the Texas Senate on Committee Substitute HB 910. The Senate Committee had removed the Dutton amendment, that stipulated that the police could not stop you for merely exercising your right to carry openly, and ask for a permit or license. Here is the amendment:
CERTAIN INVESTIGATORY STOPS AND INQUIRIES PROHIBITED. A peace officer may not make an investigatory stop or other temporary detention to inquire as to whether a person possesses a handgun license solely because the person is carrying a partially or wholly visible handgun carried in a shoulder or belt holster.
The debate over this amendment, amendment 9 in the Senate, grew almost farcical at times. Senator Whitmire, Democrat from Houston, a senator for 32 years, engaged in what amounted to a mini-filibuster. It appeared clear that he was simply trying to delay, delay, delay. It shows how incremental violations of rights lead to greater and greater violations of rights. He made the claim that no probable cause needed to ask for a license, because game wardens, and people involved in maritime activities could be stopped and asked for licenses. Those infringements on 4th amendment rights were being used to justify more infringements.
He said that he is not filibustering, as he is essentially filibustered.
He said that African Americans are only 7 percent of CHL holders, thus implying that harassment of open carriers was not an important issue.
He must have know he did not have the votes, or he would not have kept blathering. At the end he admitted the obvious, and said that he opposes the amendment, and would oppose the bill afterward.
Then Joan Huffman, a nominal Republican from Houston, got the floor and gave a face to the term RINO. She repeatedly tried to obfuscate about the amendment, in my opinion. I lost all respect for her. At one point, she said “No one is infringing on their second amendment rights.” I could have given her a dozen examples to prove her wrong, but I am not a Texas Senator.
Senator Joan Huffman
Eventually she asked for a recess to print copies of an amendment. Her five minute break became over 30 minutes, only to withdraw the amendment to the amendment after a procedural challenge. It appeared to be a calculated delaying tactic. As much as she claimed otherwise, her actions seemed motivated by a desire to kill the bill.
Why was there such intense debate over this amendment, which legally, did very little? Simple. If the amendment passed, the bill did not have to go back to the house, and would go directly to Governor Abbott. A vote for the amendment was a vote to pass open carry, with no more legislative games. That is exactly what happened.
Finally, the Senate voted on amendment 9 and passed it 19-12. Then they passed the third reading vote, 26 ayes, 5 nays.
Then they moved to suspend the constitutional three day rule: 26 ayes, 5 nays.
Final Passage: 20 ayes, 11 nays.
Now the bill will go to Governor Abbott, who has pledged to sign it. There will be a few days to meet the legal requirements, but it appears that open carry will become the law in Texas on 1 January, 2016.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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