After facing an initial stonewalling in the Texas Senate, constitutional carry will get a hearing in the upper chamber, but with an unusual twist:
A special senate committee was created this week as the end of the 87th Legislative Session draws ever closer. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick appointed the brand new “Senate Committee on Constitutional Issues”, and has made State Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) the chairman. The constitutional carry bill passed by the House, HB 1927, has been referred to the new committee.
Notably, the special committee is stacked heavily with pro-constitutional carry senators. Schwertner, the chair, is the author of a constitutional carry bill himself (SB 2224). All the Republican senators on the special committee, State Sens. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), and Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), have expressed support for constitutional carry. The Democrats on the committee are the two most conservative Democrats in the State Senate, State Sens. Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) and Juan Hinojosa (D-McAllen).
In a statement announcing his appointment to chair the committee, Schwertner said that constitutional carry will get a hearing new week:
“I am proud to chair the newly created Senate Committee on Constitutional Issues and look forward to hearing this bill next week so we can pass Constitutional Carry this session!”
However, even if constitutional carry makes it out of this new committee, it could still face tepid support on the senate floor. Several senators have yet to commit publicly how they would vote on the legislation.
Five Republican senators remain publicly undecided: State Sens. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), Joan Huffman (R-Houston), Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), and Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo).
In order to get a vote on the senate floor, a constitutional carry bill would need to have the vote of every Republican senator, unless a Democrat or two were to break ranks and support the bill.