UPDATE-- RE: HB1815-fixing traveling

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UPDATE-- RE: HB1815-fixing traveling

#1

Post by CWOOD » Tue Mar 27, 2007 4:47 pm

I didn't get to attend the House Law Enforcement Committee meeting yesterday on HB 1815 but I watched it last night on their archive webcast.

To read the text of the bill as introduced go to:

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/80 ... 01815I.htm

To see a video of the meeting, go to:

http://www.house.state.tx.us/committees ... eeCode=420

Select the date 3-26-07 (5:10-8:15pm)

When the player pop-up select the registration option "ask me later" and click through the pages to 'finish'. HB1815 comes up about 1 1/2 +/- hours into the video.

It started out with Rep. Isett (author) presenting the bill with some background refrences to Terry Keel from last session and the fact that the wording involved has already been passed. It has just been re-organized.

Then Alice Tripp of TSRA spoke about the fact that the enforcement of the bill is inconsistant and that some DA's (in large urban areas) either cannot under stand or refuse to abide by the intent of the legislature in the last session where five presumptions of when a person was traveling were written into law, to clarify the traveling exception to PC section 46.02 which prohibits carrying of a handgun. She spoke of testimony last session of folks being legal in some areas and illegal for doing the same thing in other areas of the state.

The NRA rep spoke to similar situations and recalled the decade which has been spent trying to make it so 'the good guys can have a handgun and the bad guys cannot".

Then came an unusual event. The Texas ACLU has been working WITH the TSRA folks on this. The ACLU spoke in FAVOR of the bill. I guess they do not like the inconsistant way the law has been applied, either.

Then came the testimony of an "Impact Witness" which has been discussed on this forum. He is a geologist from Katy, in Harris Co. without a CHL. In 2006 he purchased a handgun from a coworker. He put it in the car when he left work, drove to another location and then went home and was stopped on the way for a minor traffic violation. He notified the officer of the unloaded handgun (no ammo at all in the vehicle). He was arrested and taken to jail for about 27 hours while he posted bond. He was never indicted but had to spend over $3000 to get out, get his car out of impound, hire an attorney, and he has STILL not had his handgun returned to him. He made a very effective and compelling witness.

A representative from state Association of County and District Attorneys spoke. He is officially neutral on the bill. He was asked if, in his opinion, this bill would 'fix' the traveling situation in the law. He indicated that, while he had read the bill, he had not studied it in depth to comment in such a manner. Chairman Joe Driver asked him to take a few minutes to do such a study and come back and comment. The Chairman said it would be nice to make sure the bill accomplished the intent BEFORE enacting it, this time.

After other business, the attorney came back up and was asked the question again. He was very forth coming. He said that he could not comment on the policy of the bill, but regarding the technical aspects of it, that the bill came "closer" to its intent but that there were still areas which would provide wiggle room. He offered to meet with Rep. Isett regarding the wording.

In the end, the committed decided to withdraw the commttee substitute bill and leave the bill pending in commttee. Rep. Isett and the DA Assn. representative were to meet, get the wording clear and unambiguous and report back.

When this is done, it appears all but certain that the bill will get a favorable vote out of committee.

An interesting side note was that while the NRA rep was speaking, she and Rep. Stephen Frost (office inNew Boston, in Bowie Co. just west of Texarkana) asked if the bill had a requirement to notify an officer of the presence of the weapon in the car. She (NRA) correctly stated that there was no such provision. His concerrn was that there should be consistancy in how the CHL holder is required to, essentialy, notify by presenting the license but that the average citizen would not be so required. They talked about how that could be written into the law. Then they discussed that perhaps the CHL law could be modified to eliminate the obligation to present a CHL if there were a weapon present. Rep. Frost (pro-CHL) said he could live with either option, but that the notification requirement should be consistant.

It was a very interesting meeting and I feel more confidant that they could veryu well get this problem fixed this time. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sorry about the length. There was just a lot going yesterday.
Last edited by CWOOD on Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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Re: Interesting Committee meeting RE: HB1815--fixing "t

#2

Post by KBCraig » Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:24 pm

CWOOD wrote: Rep. Stephen Frost (New Boston, in Bowie Co. just east of Texarkana)
Stephen Frost is from Atlanta, Cass Co., just south of Texarkana. His district office is in New Boston, which is in Bowie Co., but it's west of Texarkana. The representative from "just east of Texarkana" works in Little Rock, not Austin. :grin:

Thanks for the report. Adding a requirement to report for travelers would be insane, because they are unlikely to be aware of such rules. If they feel the disparity is wrong, then eliminating the duty to notify for CHLs would be the way to go.

Kevin


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#3

Post by fadlan12 » Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:26 pm

I can see how having to notify an officer about a chl can be tricky, what if you are out to lunch with antis and you are driving. Your secret will be out and you could get the wrong reaction. several scenarios seem less than ideal if you get pulled over with friends in the vehicle.


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#4

Post by CWOOD » Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:53 pm

KBCraig, thanks for the corrections. Original post has been adjusted to reflect a renewed sense of direction. (Jeez, "EAST" of Texarkana...where did that come from?)

fadlan12, as you may know, the current requirement for a CHL holder is that whenever he is asked for ID by a LEO in an official capacity, the CHL holder must present a Driver License and CHL, if the CHL holder is, in fact, in possession of a concealed handgun.. There is no need to make any sort of announcement or statement of the fact that the person holds a CHL, just present the two documents. It is usually a very low key event. If the CHL holder did not have possession of a concealed handgun, there is no legal requirement to present the CHL, but I would. The officer will, most likely, know anyway.

As a former LEO (many moons ago) I have feelings in both directions. If I were stopping a person with a handgun in the vehicle, I would perfer to be aware of it, rather than happen upon it by suprise.

On the other hand, there would be little likelihood of an officer encountering it if everything were on the up and up...not openly displayed and not involved on other criminal activity. Also, like so many things, the BAD guys aren't going to tell you anyway...perhaps until it is too late. Frankly, I could live with both ideas but I agree with Rep. Frost that it should be conistant.

One final point is that I want the legislature to stay away from the CHL law as much as possible. Less chance for someone to slip in some type of poison pill.

Thanks for your comments.


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#5

Post by fadlan12 » Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:08 pm

Of course it can be discrete but when you have observative friends combined with an ambiguous leo the cats going to be out of the bag. What about that time when you decide not to give it and the leo runs it and wants to know why you did not disclose that detail.


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#6

Post by lrb111 » Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:35 pm

CWOOD, Thank you for your reporting, and keeping us abreast. This is a very reassuring chain of events.
Ø resist

Take away the second first, and the first is gone in a second.

NRA Life Member, TSRA, chl instructor

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#7

Post by stevie_d_64 » Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:26 am

There are a few states IIRC, that do not require notification, regardless of the persons status...CHL or no CHL...

And they seem to be doing just fine...

The debate regarding notification if you are not a CHL holder is something I commented on back when this all started a couple of years ago...I do not recall whether or not we came to any clear consensus on this issue...

I had mixed feelings about it, and thought we should defer to the 2007 session and see if they can iron it out...

But they seem to be having the same discussions that we had back then, today???

But this representative from state Association of County and District Attorneys, this guys a hoot! Officially neutral??? Pulleeze!

I'll temper my usual sarcastic response about this guy as long as I can...I don't want to want to damage what credibility I have left, and not be able to argue/debate the issue as a whole...(I know...I'm annoying)

Maybe I'm not seeing this, but I'm not sure this is going that well...It may get out of the committee favorably, but I still think the deck is stacked against this changing anything in the way these big county DA's will conduct business...I'm hoping I am wrong on this and it does...The warm and fuzzy feeling isn't quite there...

I agree the testimony was right on, and all that came forward to support the bill had compelling testimony for the committee members to contemplate...

If all goes well and we get yet another law that further clear up the ambiguities the DA's still have a problem with, then I say yippee...

But if it doesn't and these particular DA's are slow to accept this, then I just don't know anymore...

Achhh, what do I know, huh? ;-)

But my optamistic side says this should work out...And we'll be happy with the conclusion...The other side of the equation...I'm not so sure they'll accept it...
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Stevie_d_64, I, too, am holding my breath

#8

Post by CWOOD » Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:54 am

It LOOKS pretty good for now, but as you say, LOOKS can be deceptive.

The DA Assn. rep, at least said the official position of the Assn. was 'Neutral'. This was NOT the case for SB378, which they officially opposed.

I have a suspicion that if HB1815 passes, with the revised wording which may be suggested by the DA Assn. rep, and the various DA's across the state STILL refuse to abide by the intent, that they may incur some wrath of the Legislature. In listening to some members on the Law Enforcement Committee, there was hints of real antagonism and irritation already for those prosecuting agencies. I could see, that after more than a decade of effort and legislation to make the point that "good guys should be allowed to travel with a handgun and bad guys shouldn't", the DA's might get a much stronger statement, in the form of legislation, than they are ready for.

One solution might be to change PC46.02 from starting with "A person commits an offense..." followed by exceptions, to reading something like, "A person is permittd to have a handgun..." followed by exceptions.

Personally, I think that would be great, but from the point of view of DA Rosenthal and others, it might be the worst "unintended consequence" of their actions.

For now, I will remain hopeful. As Rep. Isett said, all of this wording and intent has already been passed by the legislature. Given the margins enjoyed by SB378, I think is is likely this latest version of a 'traveling' repair will pass, also. Let's hope.

Thanks for your commets.

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Re: Stevie_d_64, I, too, am holding my breath

#9

Post by stevie_d_64 » Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:10 am

CWOOD wrote:It LOOKS pretty good for now, but as you say, LOOKS can be deceptive.
Thats what I'm seeing...
The DA Assn. rep, at least said the official position of the Assn. was 'Neutral'. This was NOT the case for SB378, which they officially opposed.
Funny stuff going on behind closed doors...maybe...
I have a suspicion that if HB1815 passes, with the revised wording which may be suggested by the DA Assn. rep, and the various DA's across the state STILL refuse to abide by the intent, that they may incur some wrath of the Legislature.
Thats an understatement... ;-)

I'm going to try to go to a townhall meeting in Pasadena tomorrow night...I urge anyone on this forum who can attend this and any other townhall meeting to do so...Our elected officials are putting on a series of these meetings to get everyone in and brief the constituency on the issues this session...

I only know of the one in Pasadena tomorrow night, and at this point I may post a special thread on this separate with the details I know about (when and where)...

If you go I look forward to seeing y'all there...

I believe this is a great opportunity (during the session) to get to know your elected officials better, and to ask questions directly to them...

Even the ones that you may not see politically eye to eye with, most are very amiable and approachable and will listen...Heck, its their job...I always try to have a few good things to say, and keep my concerns to a minimum...Sometimes you can even get appointments (in district) to talk at length about some particular issue(s)...

This is one session and "political season" where I have noticed a more outgoing legislative body, at all levels...Nows your chance to break the ice and get involved...

It appears whether you agree with them or not, it really looks like they want to hear it all...And I think that is great!
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#10

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:11 pm

Don't worry about the committee substitute; it will contain the original language I/we proposed and it will be fine. In fact, it needs to be in the bill to avoid a problem.

Chas.


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#11

Post by CWOOD » Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:24 pm

Today, (4-13-07) the Committee Substitute for HB 1815 was sent to Calenders. This follows last week's favorable report from the Committee. The Committee Substitute has cleaned up the language of the bill by removing the traveling presumptions from SB 501 of the previous regular legislative session (79th).

It amends PC Sec 46.02. Instead of trying to fiddle with the traveling section, which is left intact, it basically says that it is a violation to have a handgun on or about your person ( I am paraphrasing) if you are:
1 not on your own premisis
2. not in your personal vehicle(or one under your control), & not a prohibited person, & not engaged in criminal activity, & not a member of a street gang & and the weapon is not in plain sight.
3. It goes on to include recreational vehicle
4. It also includes being directly en route TO you qualifiying vehicle.

Much of this is in the original bill but the Committee Substitute seems clearer.

In essence, this bill says that if is not a violation of the law to have a handgun in your vehicle (as long as the stated conditions apply). It does not try to get into subjective definitions of traveling. It just AIN'T ILLEGAL. It seems like DA Rosenthal will have a much harder time weaseling around this one if it passes.

The nice thing is that all the wording and intent of this bill has already passed with strong majorities and been sign into law. This is a clearer and more effective version of the same thing. I think it has a good chance.

If you would like to read CSHB1815 (committee substitute) you can find it as html text here:

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/ ... 01815H.htm

I really like how this has been written and adjusted.


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#12

Post by KBCraig » Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:39 pm

CWOOD wrote: If you would like to read CSHB1815 (committee substitute) you can find it as html text here:

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/ ... 01815H.htm

I really like how this has been written and adjusted.
From the bill:''(2) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person's control"

I would feel MUCH better about this bill if it didn't include the language in red. What about passengers and welcome guests?

Kevin

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#13

Post by flintknapper » Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:00 am

KBCraig wrote:
CWOOD wrote: If you would like to read CSHB1815 (committee substitute) you can find it as html text here:

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/ ... 01815H.htm

I really like how this has been written and adjusted.
From the bill:''(2) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person's control"

I would feel MUCH better about this bill if it didn't include the language in red. What about passengers and welcome guests?

Kevin

That stood out for me too.

Perhaps.. that could be changed in the future as well.
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#14

Post by CWOOD » Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:36 am

I agree with KBCraig and flintknapper on the need for future change.

Personally, I would have preferred that they change 46.02 to read that it is NOT a violation UNLESS... That would start off with the statement that possession a handgun is not a violation, and then create exceptions for when it IS a violation. That would solve a lot of problems and create very few, all of which could be addressed simply in the future. I would hazard a guess that this might be the result if folks like DA Rosenthal, et al, try to circumvent the legislative intent yet again.

All that being said, CSHB 1815 is a significant step in the right direction. It allows the potential for up to two unlicensed folks to be in possession, the driver AND the owner, if they do not happen to be the same person. It would also cover a large percentage of the situations where this circumstance would arise, I think.

I guess we need more CHL's, in the meantime. But let's remember that CSHB 1815 is not law yet. We need to call and write to make sure it does become law as written. It is unlikely to change much further in this session and is a net positive.

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#15

Post by seamusTX » Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:32 am

KBCraig wrote:From the bill:''(2) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person's control"

I would feel MUCH better about this bill if it didn't include the language in red. What about passengers and welcome guests?
Here's my opinion. It's just an opinion, and IANAL, etc.

This bill is intended to allow you to carry in your home, your business, other premises under your control (already legal), in your vehicle, and while walking to and from your vehicle if not parked on your own property.

I think it would also cover spouses in a vehicle that either of them owned.

(I think it would also make it more difficult for peace officers to search vehicles for weapons, since it would not generally be a crime to have a weapon in your vehicle -- the majority of trips are made by the car owner, alone.)

What it would not let people do is arm themselves, pick up armed buddies, and go to another place not under the control of the person who started the trip.

I think I can see why law-enforcement would object to the last bit. It would allow cars full of armed teenagers to cruise around as long as one of them owned or had legal use of the vehicle. The fact that is legal to do that with long guns is already a bogeyman for some.

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