The Texas gun bills

Trailblazer Blog, Dallas Morning News:
The Texas House passed 13 bills to make guns easier and cheaper to carry in the state. Class time for concealed handgun lessons went from 10 to as little as four hours. Permit costs were cut in half for military and national guardsmen. College campuses were opened for concealed handguns and elementary schools could get school marshals.

A full story on the bills can be read here, but a lot of the debate in the rapid-fire succession of gun bills was aimed at Washington and any national attempt for assault weapon bans, smaller ammo clips or even background checks.

The most heated exchanges were reserved for a proposal to nullify new federal gun control laws. Those gun laws not already on the books in Texas couldn’t be enforced here under the sweeping and unadjudicated argument that they wouldn’t be constitutional under the Second Amendment.

And for those cities or counties that tried to enforce a new federal gun law, their entities would lose any state grant money. And, under the bill that passed on a strong voice vote, the law would prompt the Texas attorney general to sue and pursue hefty fines against a police chief, district attorney or any other public official who tried to enforce such laws.

Supporters of the bill said they worked with the attorney general’s office in shaping the so-called Firearms Protection Act. But other lawmakers — all of them Democrats — said the bill ignored the constitution, especially the supremacy clause that establishes federal laws override state ones.
Any new federal laws involving guns would have to be enforced by federal employees, so the impact of these bills would not be immediate.  They do however give the state standing to challenge them in court.  The challenge would not be to the supremacy clause of the constitution, but to the validity of the laws under the 2nd Amendment.  That is a challenge that has found support in the Supreme Court in recent years.


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