The Texas Legislature is currently conducting a “roadshow” to determine the future of gun ownership in Texas. Now you can and should speak your peace or your gun rights might be the first sacrifice in the next legislative session.
This week debuted the first interim committee meeting that allowed for public input. During nearly three hours of public input, gun rights activists, spearheaded by Rachel Malone from Gun Owners of America, repeatedly stated that the best way to make Texas safer is to encourage law-abiding citizens to carry firearms for their own self-protection.
Gun rights advocates were unanimous in their call for the legislature to end “gun-free” zones and stop requiring a government license to carry a handgun.
Although gun rights advocates far outnumbered the other side, there were still witnesses who called for universal background checks, gun confiscation, and increased release of private information from social media to the government in ways that could stifle, stigmatize, and target gun owners.
Unfortunately, there are many committee members who agree with these gun control ideas. Even more alarming: this committee and a similar Senate committee are responsible to develop proposals that the legislature will likely push through the Texas Lege during its next session.
There is still time for you to give YOUR input to these committees.
Tell the committee members that they must not surrender any of our liberties for a false pretense of security. We do not want our government in Texas acting like the federal government, especially when it comes to our inalienable right to keep and bear arms.
Odessa: Thursday, October 17, 2pm
Odessa College, Deaderick Hall (Auditorium)
201 W University Blvd | Odessa, TX 79764
El Paso: Monday, October 21, 2pm
University of Texas at El Paso, Natural Gas Conference Center
2051 Wiggins Way | El Paso, TX 79902
Austin: Wednesday, October 30, 10am
Texas Capitol, Hearing Room E1.036
1100 Congress Avenue | Austin, TX 78701
Here’s how to help:
- Attend a hearing!
Stay for an hour or two or all day. The Odessa and El Paso hearings begin at 2pm and will stay open for testimony until at least 7pm — and even longer if there are still people who arrive by 7pm and want to speak.
- Speak to the committee!
Prepare 2 minutes on the hearing topic (see topics for Odessa, El Paso, Austin). Share a story, your beliefs, your concerns, and what you want the committee to do. You will need to register (likely on witness cards available at the door). The committee will hear invited testimony first, then public testimony. Often, invited testimony lasts several hours. Listen to the livestream of yesterday’s DFW area hearing to see what it might be like. Public testimony begins about an hour into this video.
- Bring written testimony.
Bring 20 identical copies of whatever written information you want the committee to have. Hand them to the clerk as soon as you get there. Be sure to register (look for witness cards at the door). You can leave whenever you need to and your written testimony is still distributed.
- If you cannot attend, call the committee members.
You’ll talk with a staff member. Tell them you are calling with a message for the Senator regarding the Mass Violence Prevention committee. Tell them your opinion, including things like this:
- “I believe the government infringing on Constitutional rights is a GREATER threat to our safety than criminals.”
- “I do not want the government accessing our private information for threat assessment or any reason.”
- “Guns are used many times more often to save innocent lives than to harm them. So please stop marginalizing gun owners.”
- Instead of passing gun control laws, make it easier for law-abiding Texans to carry for self defense. Get rid of “gun-free zones” and stop requiring people who legally own guns to get a permit to carry a handgun.
Contact Info: Senate Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety
Chairman: Sen. Joan Huffman (R) — (512)463-0117
Vice Chair: Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D) — (512) 463-0121
Sen. Donna Campbell (R) — (512) 463-0125
Sen. Kelly Hancock (R) — (512) 463-0109
Sen. Jane Nelson (R) — (512 ) 463-0112
Sen. Charles Perry (R) — (512) 463-0128
Sen. José R. Rodríguez (D) — (512) 463-0129
Sen. Larry Taylor (R) — (512) 463-0111
Sen. John Whitmire (D) — (512) 463-0115
Tips for attending:
- Dress professionally.
- Each college’s written policies indicate that they do not prohibit concealed carry in the hearing location. Remember that open carry is not legal on college campuses. LTC carry (open or concealed) is legal at the Texas Capitol — bring your LTC and use the “card entrance” at each door to bypass the metal detector.
- You may take pictures, video, and livestream (but keep the aisles clear and don’t block others’ view).
- There is no end time — likely they will allow time for anyone who wants to speak to them. Expect it to last at least several hours.
- The committees have promised to keep the Odessa and El Paso hearings open until at least 7pm, so if you arrive by 6:30 or 7pm, you should still have time to sign up and talk to them. It is likely they will stay open well after 7pm if there are still people who want to speak.