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Legal & Legislative

Legal & Legislative (5)

%PM, %18 %900 %2015 %15:%Jun

Open-Carry Returns to Texas

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%PM, %30 %985 %2015 %17:%Apr

The Truth About the "Castle Doctrine"

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Jessie Jackson, Rep. Al Green, Al Shaprton and others are using the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida to call for the repeal of all so-called “stand your ground” laws around the country.  Jessie Jackson was in Houston on April 12thcalling for repeal of the Texas “Castle Doctrine.”  Jackson erroneously claims such laws promote “vigilantism.”  Jessie Jackson, Al Green and other self-appointed black leaders either do not know what the so-called Texas “Castle Doctrine” requires, or they know the truth and are lying to the public.

 It is hard to determine what is at the center of complaints by Jackson and Green, as they never manage to state precisely what offends them about the Texas “Castle Doctrine.”  Based upon numerous statements made around the country, it appears that the repeal of the retreat duty is what Jackson, Green, Sharpton and others want to accomplish.  However, they argue that the lack of a retreat duty means people can used deadly force “anytime they feel threatened.”  Undoubtedly, they got this misinformation from the Brady Campaign to [Ban all Guns and Render Everyone Defenseless].

Let us brush aside the lies and rhetoric and look at the history of the retreat duty in Texas, as well as the actual provisions of the Texas version of the “Castle Doctrine.”  Prior to 1977, Texas was a “True Man State” meaning there was no duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, but only if the use of  deadly force was  justified under Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.  In 1977, the Texas Legislature amended the Penal Code to require a person to retreat before using deadly force, even in their own home!  This was the law until 1995 when the duty to retreat inside your home was repealed.  When SB378 passed in 2007, the retreat duty was repealed, but with safeguards.  There is no duty to retreat before using legally justified deadly force only if 1) the person is legally present at the location where they used deadly force; 2) the person did not provoke the person against whom deadly force was used; and 3) the person using deadly force was not engage in illegal conduct at the time they used deadly force.  (See Tex. Penal code §9.32(c))

As noted earlier, repeal of the retreat duty does not change or diminish the long-standing requirements to use deadly force found throughout Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.  The logic for repealing the retreat duty is sound and it was necessary to allow innocent people to defend themselves without fear of prosecution.  Prior to 2007, even if a person “reasonably believed deadly force was immediately necessary to prevent the other person’s use of unlawful deadly force” against them, they still had to try to get away before defending himself or herself.  If they got killed trying to escape, well too bad.  That was an absurd legal requirement that valued the life of a criminal more than the life of their intended victim.

Jackson, Green, Sharpton and others are siding with violent criminals by calling for a return to the days when innocent people had to risk their lives before defending themselves against violent attacks.  Once again Jessie Jackson, Al Green and Al Sharpton are trying to raise money and get some free air time by sprinkling themselves with Trayvon’s blood and lying about so-called “stand your ground” statutes.  Unfortunately, their despicable actions are not a surprise.  This has been their game plan for many years.

%PM, %06 %041 %2013 %18:%Jan

Straight Talk About Open-Carry

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If you were to stop ten people on the streets of most cities and towns in Texas and ask them how they feel about “open-carry” the vast majority of them would have no idea what you are asking.  Some would probably think you were talking about walking down the street with an open beer in your hand, relating it in their mind to the Texas law against having open containers in a motor vehicle.  “Open-carry” for purposes of this article refers to legally carrying a self-defense handgun in a holster that it is not concealed from public view.

A significant percentage of Texas residents believe that open-carry is currently legal in Texas, but they are mistaken, except in a few locations.  One can openly carry a handgun on their own property, while engaging in sporting activities in which handguns are commonly used (ex.  hunting and shooting matches), and in their place of business or employment under certain circumstances.

%PM, %30 %954 %2015 %16:%Apr

NRA Awarded Attorney Fees -- Again!

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After losing a long and costly legal battle trying to deprive its citizens of their Second Amendment rights, the city of Chicago has been ordered to pay the $1.3 million to the national rifle association of America.  This figure represents a portion of the legal fees and expenses incurred by the NRA in defending the constitutional rights of American citizens.  Initially, the Federal District court denied the NRA’s request for attorney fees, but a favorable ruling by the U.S.  Seventh Circuit Court Of Appeals require the district court to award  “reasonable and necessary attorney fees and expenses.”

Regardless of the constitutional rights at issue, American citizens benefit when governmental entities that are acting arbitrarily, capriciously and unconstitutionally are required to reimburse the attorney fees and expenses incurred in protecting constitutional rights.  For this reason, it was shocking when self-proclaimed “pro-gun”  attorney Alan Gura filed documents formally opposing the NRA’s request for attorney fees.  Thankfully, the court rejected Mr. Gura’s unfounded opposition.

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Keep Up With the Legislature

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The 2013 Texas Legislative Session began on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 and it will end 140 days later.  The first several days were spent taking care of administrative matters.  Appointments have been made to the various committees in the house and senate and committee chairman and vice chairman have been selected by the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor.

Pre-filing of bills will begin in November and a lot of people are under the misconception that pre-filing a bill manning said it will be considered a earlier in the legislative process.  This is incorrect as the order in which bills are filed do not control when they will be considered either in committee are on the floor.  There are tactical reasons why some bills or pre-filed and others are not, but the lack of pre-filing does not indicate the lack of interest in the bill.  Often, pre-filing simply gives the opposition more time to go on our support.

It is never possible to predict the exact number and subject matter of firearms related bills that will be filed during any legislative session.  However, in all likelihood of 2013 Texas legislative session will see bills filed dealing with campus security (a/k/a campus-carry), amendments to the Texas concealed handgun law in terms of eligibility, training requirements, and administrative procedures, along with tweaking of the employer parking lot bill.  Open-carry of handguns will probably see some activity during the session, but whether that will be introduced as so-called licensed open-carry (CHL’s only) or unlicensed open-carry is unknown.

Regardless what the 2013 Texas legislative session may bring, you can keep up with what’s going on in Austin by frequently checking the Bill Status Report here and on the TFC website.  The Bill Status Report will list every bill filed in the Texas legislature that deals with firearm ownership and usage, laws dealing with self-defense and offense a property, and any other subject matter that directly or indirectly impacts Texas gun owners.  The report will contain the author of the bill, the brief description of its purpose, the status of the bill in the legislative process, and whether or not the bill is supported or opposed by the Texas Firearms Coalition.  Sometimes a bill is covered for informational purposes only, and the TFC remains neutral on the bill.  A condensed version of the Bill Status Report is also available on along with reports from every Texas legislative session from 2005 onward.

To increase the ability to notify  Texas gun owners of critical legislative is calls-to-action, the TFC will launch a new e-mail/eNewsletter system when its new website is launched in the coming weeks.  Critical information and calls-to-action will still be posted on the web site.  All Texas gun owners are strongly encouraged to register for TFC e-mail blasts and eNewsletters and get their friends and families to do likewise.  The importance of the ability to generate thousands of phone calls and faxes to elected officials cannot be overstated.

Please make it a priority to stay informed as to what is taking place in Austin by frequently checking the TFC Bill Status Report.