Despite being vastly outnumbered in both chambers of the Texas Legislature, Democrats are still trying to push gun control measures this year. One bill up for debate this week in the Texas House is House Bill 866, sponsored by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso). HB 866 would allow restrictions on the gun rights of anyone who is the subject of a "lethal violence protective order." Such an order could be issued based on petitioning from any family or household member who feels the person is a threat to themselves or others. The subject of the order could then be forced to give up their firearms without any hearing or due process.
The Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) has been in Austin fighting against HB 866. Doug Dubois, TSRA executive director, says HB 66 is remarkably selective in what it seeks to deny those deemed "dangerous." "The only item that is being addressed is a firearm...it doesn't address medications, or knives, or any other lethal device that someone could use for harming themselves," he says. "So we're concerned about the overreach in the bill and the lack of reach in some other areas."
Dubois tells KTRH that Texas already has laws governing protective orders and keeping lethal weapons away from dangerous individuals, but those laws contain due process provisions that must be followed before someone can be deprived of their Second Amendment rights. "There is no real reason for HB 866," he says.
Part of ensuring that due process is making sure that proper judgment is used in deeming individuals dangerous or threatening enough to deny them certain rights. "When you're talking about the mental health acuity of an individual, is that up to a family member to make that call or is that up to a professional to make that call," says Dubois. "I think what we are asking for, is for the intervention of a mental health professional to make that evaluation."