By: José Niño
One Texas State representative is stirring the pot by introducing a bill that would bans state and local law enforcement from enforcing federal gun control laws that are not present in Texas, differ from, or contradict state laws.
Lone Star Gun Rights observed that this is the fifth straight session that State Rep. Matt Krause has introduced similar legislation.
Krause introduced this bill out of fear that an activist Democratic administration would likely install itself in power and start pursuing radical gun control measures. Krause expressed that this law is needed given the type of administration that is coming into power in January. Krause is confident that the current climate of political divisiveness and an administration committed to implementing gun control will make this bill easy to pass.
“Today I filed HB 635 - a bill that states Texas won’t use its time, personnel, resources, or energy to enforce a federal firearm law that conflicts with Texas policy,” Krause wrote on Facebook last month. “With an unprecedented amount of anti-2nd Amendment bills filed by Democrats already, it will be more important than ever to defend and strengthen our 2nd Amendment rights during the 87th Session.”
House Bill 635 bars Texas’s government from enforcing unconstitutional federal gun control laws that impose regulations on firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition. HB 635 still lets the federal government regulate firearms, accessories, and ammunition that crosses state lines via interstate commerce.
“HB635 provides no state penalties for the enforcement of federal firearm regulations by federal agents working under federal authority in the state of Texas,” the bill document says.
State and local authorities cannot help federal agencies enforce gun control laws that the Texas state government rejects. In a similar vein, law enforcement departments cannot be deputized for the sole aim of carrying out federal gun laws that contradict Texas’ laws or are not on the books in Texas.
Texas would only cooperate with the federal government regarding laws that are similar to laws in Texas.
“HB 635 is a completely sound legal framework and prevents the federal government from using state resources to infringe upon the 2nd amendment rights,” the bill document says.
The bill authors noted that the “federal government cannot force a state, or its resources, to impose its will – we have to consent, and HB 635 ensures Texas controls the conversation.”
Some grassroots organizations in the Lone Star State do not view Krause’s bill so positively.
Chris McNutt, the Executive Director of Texas Gun Rights, told GPM the following:
“With Joe Biden promising to bypass Congress and take executive action on gun control, it’s critical for states to push back against these unconstitutional mandates. Unfortunately, Krause’s bill doesn’t seem to go far enough. There are no civil or criminal penalties if Leftist municipalities like Austin or Dallas decide to help the feds enforce their unconstitutional gun control. Without penalty, this bill seems to be mere window dressing. We hope Rep. Krause is open to truly protecting the Second Amendment rights of Texans by making these critical changes.”
McNutt reiterated the importance of passing legislation that grassroots Texans want, such as Constitutional Carry:
“But playing defense isn’t enough, especially with extremists continuing to demand cities ‘defund the police.’ We must also strike back on the offensive to restore every law-abiding Texan’s right to keep and bear arms and protect their families by fighting for Constitutional Carry legislation. Texas Gun Rights is working with Rep. Kyle Biedermann to get that done.”
All too often, Republican elected officials will offer legislation that sounds good at first, but ends up being toothless upon further examination. That’s why it’s crucial for Second Amendment organizations to vet legislation and discover any flaws that could make these bills ineffective. The grassroots cannot afford to be misled into supporting symbolic legislation that does nothing to restore our rights.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.