As Texas lawmakers prepare to enter the third month of the 2017 legislative session in Austin, one group is making sure that Second Amendment issues remain at the forefront of discussion. The Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) held its Lobby Day at the Capitol this week, where TSRA leaders make the rounds to promote legislation to protect and expand gun rights.
TSRA Communications Director Justin Williamson says their job is to represent the views of gun rights advocates across the state who can't reach lawmakers one-one-one. "When (lawmakers) come back home and are campaigning, that's when you can ask them about what they support when it comes to firearms, but when they're here...and you need somebody in Austin, that's what TSRA is here for," he tells KTRH.
The TSRA is focusing on several pieces of legislation this session. "Senate Bill 16 by Senator Robert Nichols, which would actually reduce the fee for your license to carry to nothing...right now, we have one of the highest fees in the country," says Williamson. He also notes that there are multiple bills aimed at establishing Constitutional Carry, which would allow anyone to carry a firearm without requiring a license. "The TSRA is of the opinion that the more bills, the merrier on issues like this," says Williamson. "We want multiple bills filed by multiple legislators, because we want the highest chance of a bill like that passing."
Perhaps the most interesting gun legislation the TSRA is supporting this session comes from freshman state Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury), who has filed HCR 51 to establish a state handgun for Texas. "Fun fact--Texas doesn't have a state handgun," says Williamson. "This concurrent resolution would actually designate the 1847 Colt-Walker Pistol as the official state handgun."