Updates for 2007 - 2008
For detailed information on The Texas Gun Owner's Guide, click here.
10 MAJOR NEW GUN LAWS IN TEXAS - 2007
The Texas Gun Owner’s Guide
Basic data provided by The Texas State Rifle Association --
Establishes a presumption in Texas law that if a person unlawfully and with force enters or attempts to enter your home, vehicle or place of business or employment, it is reasonable for you to believe that the use of force, including deadly force, is immediately necessary to protect yourself. The same applies if the person takes or attempts to take you out of those places unlawfully and with force. The bill also explicitly states that you have no duty to retreat from such an attack if you are in a place you have a right to be, have not provoked the attack, and you are not engaged in unlawful activity. Lastly, the new law limits the ability of criminals and their families to sue innocent victims for killing or injuring their attackers. A wonderful piece of legislation that protects the innocent. This was the first bill signed by Governor Perry this session.
Prevents the seizure and confiscation of legally-possessed firearms and ammunition during a state of emergency or natural disaster. Hundreds of cases of such activity were documented in New Orleans and neighboring areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This law prevents the similar denial of an individual’s constitutional rights by state or local officials in the unfortunate event of any future man-made or natural disasters in Texas. A peace officer during an emergency can temporarily disarm an individual during an encounter, but must return the firearm and ammunition before ceasing to detain the person, unless there is an arrest or the firearm is evidence in a criminal investigation.
The offense of illegally carrying a handgun, illegal knife or club has been removed from law if you are on your own premises, premises under your control, or inside or directly enroute to a motor vehicle you own or is under your control. The weapons remain illegal if you intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carry them in plain view in a motor vehicle, or are involved in certain criminal activity, are in a criminal gang, or cannot legally possess a firearm. This new law ends decades of legal abuse of innocent citizens under deceptive “traveling” rules, affirmative defenses, prosecutorial discretion, denials of civil rights and traps for the unwary.
Texas thus becomes the fourth state to recognize Freedom to Carry (FTC) -- concealed carry with no permit -- at least under the narrow circumstances of in vehicles and on your premises. (The other three are Vermont, Alaska, and Montana outside of city limits. Arizona recognizes FTC in your home, business and on land you own or lease.) FTC differs from so-called “Right-to-Carry,” which requires a government-issued permit, forms, tests, taxation, fingerprinting, photographing, embedding in state and federal databases and an expiration date, for exercise of “rights.”
This law protects CHL applicants and license holders by restricting access to their personal information to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and their employees. A majority of states with CHL-type laws have enacted confidentiality provisions as part of their concealed-carry statutes, as a response to anti-civil-rights bigots who seek this information for dubious and dangerous purposes. Some have actually succeeded in publishing lists of CHL holders in newspapers, as if they’re doing the public a good service by exposing permit holders information to criminal elements.
Section 62.081 of the Parks & Wildlife Code generally prohibits the possession or discharge of firearms on Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) property, with a few exceptions. Clarification was necessary to make it clear that the legal possession of a handgun by a CHL on LCRA property, and discharge of a handgun by a CHL for lawful self-defense purposes, is legal. Prior efforts to accomplish this with SB 501 in 2003 and subsequent administrative rules were not sufficient to restrain “the proper authorities.”
Money collected from issuing Texas State Rifle Association specialty license plates goes to Texas A&M. This bill clarifies that 50% of funds collected will go to the discretion of 4-H Shooting Sports and 50% to enrich the endowed Tubb Scholarship at Texas A&M University.
Some opponents cried about releasing “blind” hunters on the landscape, a total deception. It is currently legal for anyone with a Texas hunting license to hunt, and no handicap is excluded. This bill creates a better hunting experience and more ethical shot for legally blind hunters when hunting with a sighted spotter of a certain age. Legally blind persons are not wholly without sight, an extremely rare condition, but have a reduced ability to see.
The homes of foster children are regularly and thoroughly inspected for any number of hazards including storage of medicines, power tools, swimming pools, hazardous chemicals and firearms. However, new rules developed by Texas Child Protective Services attempt to exclude all firearms from the property of foster parents with “special needs” children. This rule would make Texas foster-parent rules the most restrictive in the country, more so than New York or California. The hardship on existing families, who have passed repeated safety and storage inspections and now must choose between the love of children in their care or their legal possessions, is just plain wrong, and could make it difficult to find good families for the most deserving children.
This law prohibits the Department of Family and Protective Services from adopting such policies, but it does allow the department to set minimum storage standards, including keep arms and ammunition separate and locked. Requirements to lock up firearms, which might help reduced accidents or unauthorized use, significantly reduces their value in stopping crime and saving lives in an emergency.
Allows a CHL after the third renewal to opt to take the CHL course every 10 years instead of every 5, but they must still go through the appropriate renewal process. DPS expects to complete an automation process and hopes to make the information on who qualifies for this of who does not a simple task.
Texas law makes it an offense to exhibit or use, or threaten to exhibit or use, a firearm in a manner that interferes with the normal use of a building or portion of a school campus or of a school bus. This law amends the Education Code to add that such use, exhibition, or threat is a violation if made in a manner intended to cause alarm or personal injury to another or to damage school property. The bill expands the places in which such conduct is prohibited to include in or on any school property, including a parking lot, parking garage or other parking area.
CHL Employee Rights • SB 534
The Texas Legislature Online website has recently been updated.
All information that was available on the prior web site is still available on the new site, located at http://www.legis.state.tx.us.
Specific examples of content available include the following:
* To browse and search statutes, go to http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/statutes.html (previously located at www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/statutes.html). In general, if you have bookmarked a link to a statute-related page, you only need to change www.capitol.state.tx.us to tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us. For example, the page "SECTION 21.001. INHERENT POWER AND DUTY OF COURTS" previously located at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/GV/content/htm/gv.002.00.000021.00.htm#21.001.00 is now located at http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/GV/content/htm/gv.002.00.000021.00.htm#21.001.00.
* To view house journals, go to http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/hjrnl/home.htm (previously located at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/hjrnl/home.htm).
* To view senate journals, go to http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/sjrnl/home.htm (previously located at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/sjrnl/home.htm).
* To search for bills with specific actions, authors, sponsors, committees, etc., go to http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Search/BillSearch.aspx (previously located at www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlo/billsrch/criteria.htm).
* To look up detailed information for a specific bill, go to http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/BillNumber.aspx (previously located at www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlo/legislation/bill_status.htm).
* To find who represents you in the legislature, go to http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us (previously located at www.capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm)
on gun laws and other topics.