Hall files bills shielding gun rights


Senator part of bipartisan tax relief bill


As this year’s state legislative session rolls on, senator Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) has filed two bills relating to Second Amendment rights and a senate joint resolution calling for constitutional carry, and he also joined in on a bipartisan effort to expand the tax exemptions of surviving military spouses.

Senate bill 513, which introduces “The Texas Firearm Protection Act,” prohibits the enforcement of certain federal laws regulating firearms, its accessories or ammunition, but only those laws passed after Jan. 1, 2021. For example, federally licensed gun dealers would still need to run a background check, but any federal law mandating a universal background check for private sellers online or at gun shows would not be enforced in Texas. Under the bill, the enforcement of such a law would be a Class A misdemeanor. Gov. Greg Abbott called for the protection of gun rights in his January State of the State address.

“This session we need to erect a complete barrier against any government office anywhere from treading on gun rights in Texas,” Abbott said. “Texas must be a Second Amendment Sanctuary State.”

The bill also has two companions, or bills with similar language, in the Texas House. On Sunday, the anniversary of the Parkland shooting which left 17 dead, President Joe Biden urged in a statement for more gun control measures, including background checks on all gun sales and banning high-capacity magazines.

“We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change,” the statement read. “The time to act is now.”

Another bill, SB 514, concerns the concealed carry of firearms on public school districts or open enrollment charter schools and bars the adoption of any rule prohibiting or restricting a lawfully licensed district employee from carrying a concealed handgun on the school’s campus. Schools are currently on the list of gun-free zones in the Texas code.

Hall also filed senate joint resolution 24 calling for a state constitutional amendment to permit carrying a weapon without a license. Currently, an applicant for a license to carry must complete a firearm safety course, pass a shooting proficiency test and have a background check.

Sixteen other states have constitutional carry laws, including Oklahoma and Arkansas. Some of these states, however, limit the law to allow only residents to carry without a permit.

While Hall is busy defending conservative values, he joined in authoring a bipartisan bill exempting from property taxes surviving military spouses of service members killed in the line of duty. Currently, the law only applies to spouses of service members killed in action, usually by a hostile enemy action. Killed “in the line of duty” means during a training exercise, vehicle accident and or aircraft accident.

In the other chamber of the Texas Legislature, freshman state representative Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City) has only filed a resolution “commending the national March for Life movement on its political engagement.” According to CBS 11, Slaton intended to joint author a bill with Rep. Jeff Cason, R-Bedford, to end in-state college tuition for undocumented immigrants. This would be the fourth try for legislators to end it.