The following bills have either been passed and signed into law, or are awaiting signature by the Governor. These new laws for 2013 either directly or indirectly effect Texas Concealed Handgun License holders.
Senate Bill No. 299 (SB 299) amends Texas Penal Code Section 46.035, Subsections (a) and (h) to protect Texas Concealed Handgun Licensees against charges of unlawful display of a handgun if they accidently or inadvertently display their firearms in plain view of another person in a public place. It is further ammended to include a defense to prosecution if at the time of the commission of the offense, displayed the handgun under circumstances in which the licensee would have been justified in the use of force or deadly force. This law becomes effective September 1, 2013.
Senate Bill No. 987 (SB 987) amends Local Government Code Section 229.001 to allow the Texas Attorney General to seek a temporary or permanent injunction against a city or county that adopts a regulation in violation of the state firearms preemption law. Firearms preemption protects law abiding gun owners against a patchwork of confusing and conflicting local gun control ordinances across the state. Section 236.002 is further ammended to prevent a county from adopting regulations relating to the transfer, private ownership, keeping, transportation, licensing, or registration of firearms, ammunition, or firearm supplies or the discharge of a firearm at a sport shooting range. This law becomes effective immediately.
Senate Bill No. 864 (SB 864) amends Government Code, Section 411.185, Subsection (a) to reduce the number of classroom hours required for an initial Concealed Handgun License from 10-15 hours to 4-6 hours. This law becomes effective September 1, 2013.
House Bill No. 48 (HB 48) amends Government Code, Section 411.185 to remove the requirement to attend a proficiency class in order to renew a licensees Concealed Handgun License. The amendment allows for the adoption of an informational form that describes state law regarding the use of deadly force and the places where it is unlawful for the holder of a license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety to carry a concealed handgun. An applicant for a renewed license must sign and return the informational form to the department by mail or acknowledge the form electronically on the internet if renewing the license online. The law becomes effective September 1, 2013.
Senate Bill No. 164 (SB 164) amends Government Code, Section 411.174 to allow for the inclusion of the designation “Veteran” on the face of any original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license or on the reverse side of the license, as determined by the department, if the licensed is issued to a qualified veteran. The term “Veteran” will be used as defined by Government Code, Section 411.1951. The law becomes effective September 1, 2013.
House Bill No. 485 (HB 485) amends Government Code, Section 411.1951(c) to reduce the fee for the issuance of an original or renewed license to $25, and reduces by 50% any fee required of the applicant for a duplicate or modified license. This bill also amends Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code by adding Section 411.1952 which reduces the fees for employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to $25 for the issuance of an original or renewed license. Also amended is Section 411.1991(a), Government Code to allow for peace officers who are not employed “Full Time” by a law enforcement agency, and members of the Texas military forces, excluding Texas State Guard members who are serving in the Texas Legislature, to apply for an original or renewed license with a fee of only $25. The law becomes effective September 1, 2013.
House Bill No. 698 (HB 698) amends Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code to alleviate the burden on individuals applying for a Concealed Handgun License by only requiring applicants to submit digital or electronic fingerprints if a facility with the capability to process those fingerprints exists within a 25-mile radius of the applicant and the applicant resides in a county with a population of less than 46,000. The law becomes effective September 1, 2013.
**LAWS PENDING SIGNATURE BY THE GOVERNOR**
House Bill No. 508 (HB 508) amends Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code to prevent a state agency or a political subdivision of the state from providing notice by a communication described by Section 30.06, Penal Code, or by any sign expressly referring to that law or to a concealed handgun license, that a person who is serving in Texas as a judge or justice of a federal court, as an active judicial officer, a holder of a state wide office as defined by Section 1.005, Election Code, a member of the House of Representatives or the Senate, a member of the United States Congress, the state prosecuting attorney, an assistant state prosecuting attorney, assistant attorney general, United States attorney, assistant United States attorney, special assistant United States attorney, district attorney, assistant district attorney, criminal district attorney, assistant criminal district attorney, county attorney, or assistant county attorney licensed to carry a concealed handgun, or any other individual who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun, are prohibited from entering or remaining on a premises or other place owned or leased by the governmental entity unless the license holders are prohibited from carrying a handgun on the premises or other place by Section 46.03 or 46.035, Penal Code, as appropriate. A state agency or a political subdivision of the state that violates Subsection (a) is liable for a civil penalty of:
A person who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun, or any citizen of the state of Texas may file a complaint with the Attorney General.
Note: This law has been voted on and passed by the House and Senate and awaits the signature of the Governor.