Archive for the ‘Guns’ Category

Hunting/Emergency Prep Sales Tax Bills Currently in Texas Legislature

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

There are at least two bills establishing sales tax holidays for firearms, hunting supplies (“ammunition, archery equipment, hunting blinds and stands, hunting decoys, firearm cleaning supplies, gun cases and gun safes, hunting optics, and hunting safety equipment”) and emergency preparation supplies working their way through the Texas legislature.

House Bill 849 is the NRA-blessed bill that “establishes two state sales tax-free holidays for Texas sportsmen during the last weekend in August and October, before dove and deer seasons, respectively.”

SB 904 would create a similar sales tax holiday in April on all the following items:

(1) a portable generator used to provide light or communications or to preserve perishable food in the event of a power outage, the sales price of which is less than $3,000;
(2) an item listed in this subdivision, the sales price of which is less than $300:
(A) a storm protection device manufactured, rated, and marketed specifically to prevent damage to a glazed or non-glazed opening during a storm; or
(B) an emergency or rescue ladder; or
(3) an item listed in this subdivision, the sales price of which is less than $75:
(A) a reusable or artificial ice product;
(B) a portable, self-powered light source;
(C) a gasoline or diesel fuel container;
(D) a AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt, or 9 volt battery, or a package containing more than one battery, other than an automobile or boat battery;
(E) a nonelectric cooler or ice chest for food storage;
(F) a tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting;
(G) a ground anchor system or tie-down kit;
(H) a mobile telephone battery or battery charger;
(I) a portable self-powered radio, including a two-way radio or weatherband radio;
(J) a fire extinguisher, smoke detector, or carbon monoxide detector;
(K) a hatchet or axe;
(L) a self-contained first aid kit; or
(M) a nonelectric can opener.

I reached out to Paul Martin, my CHL instructor and a guy who teaches an emergency preparation class ever year, who’s been tracking the legislation closely, and he offered the following explanation of the various bills:

SB 904 would make certain disaster supplies eligible for purchase sales tax-free during the last full weekend in April. The bill was not amended in the Senate, so if it passes cleanly in the house, it will be ready to go to the Governor for his signature. Three other states currently have emergency supplies sales tax holiday weekends. Until this year, Florida had one as well, but I don’t believe their legislature reauthorized it for this year.

SB 228 is the identical Senate version of HB 849. These bills would create a sales tax holiday weekend for firearms and hunting supplies. In the bill, “hunting supplies” is defined as ammunition, archery equipment, hunting blinds and stands, hunting decoys, firearm cleaning supplies, gun cases and gun safes, hunting optics, and hunting safety equipment. Both SB 228 and HB 849 have been passed by the respective houses. I’ve not done the deep drill down to see if they are identical now, as both were amended during the process. If they are identical now, the bill can be presented for Gov. Abbott’s signature. If they aren’t, they will be sent to a conference committee to work out the details and then re-presented to both houses for a final vote. Louisiana has a firearms and hunting supplies sales tax-free weekend; there was anecdotal evidence provided during the Senate proceedings that Texans were going to Louisiana to take advantage of their sales tax holiday weekend.

For a basis of comparison, the Senate voted out on third reading SB 228 creating a sales tax holiday weekend for hunting supplies. The bill passed on a 21-10 vote. The fiscal note on that bill shows a negative impact of 11.1M in the next two years, and 35M through 2020. When we say “negative impact,” we are saying that it will result in a loss of tax revenue to the state. SB 904 has a 2.25M negative impact through 2017, and 6M over the next 5 years.

Both bills seem to enjoy broad support, so you might want to start drawing up your wish list…

LinkSwarm for May 5, 2015

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Happy Cinco de Mayo! My efforts to move the LinkSwarm back to it’s usual Friday position by posting early have failed, so I’m trying to get it there by letting it drift back one day later each time…

  • “Canadian Partnership Shielded Identities of Donors to Clinton Foundation.” Just in case you missed that. Because trying to keep up with all the sleazy bribery angles of the Clinton Foundation is like trying to drink from the firehose…
  • Speaking of which:

  • “Hillary may want to talk about inequality, but is there any better example of a couple who gorged at the trough of Wall Street and foreign autocrats, chose not to follow the rules, never could stop chasing more and more money and (in Hillary Clinton’s case) went to extraordinary lengths to destroy “personal” e-mails that might have pulled back the curtain on all that?” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Hillary hires Scott Hogan, an organizer of the failed “Everytown” gun-grabber astroturf to run her “Grassroots” campaign. Hopefully he’ll bring Hillary the same outstanding success he brought to gun control…
  • Russian stooges in Ukraine: “Soviet terror famine? No, that was all just a big misunderstanding!” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Islamic State murders 600 more Yezidis. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • The Islamic State also claimed post facto credit for the Garland attack.
  • Speaking of which, here’s an interview with Bosch Fawstin, the winner of the Draw Mohammed contest. (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)
  • Emergency room visits up under ObamaCare.
  • Lefty lawyer Laurence Tribe calls Obama’s “force everyone to use green energy without congressional approval” plan unconstitutional. “After studying the only legal basis offered for the EPA’s proposed rule, I concluded that the agency is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority.”
  • Drug cartel violence heats up in Mexico: “Gunmen shot down a Mexican military helicopter Friday in the western state of Jalisco, killing three soldiers, and set fire to buses, blocked roads, and attacked banks and gas stations in a sharp escalation of violence against the government.” This is evidently the handiwork of the New Generation drug cartel.
  • Minimum wage hike hits San Francisco Comic Store.
  • When the Social Justice Warriors started attacking the company Protein World over their “Beach Ready” ad campaign, Protein World didn’t cave, they fought back. Result: They earned an additional $1 million in four days.
  • Not understanding that the Presidency is not an entry level job, and that the Republican field was already packed, Ben Carson joins the Presidential race.
  • Ditto Carly Fiorina, whose tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard was not an unqualified success, and whose 2010 California Senate race lost to Barbara Boxer by 16 points.
  • And evidently Mike Huckabee is going to run as well.
  • Texas Democrats are furious that a new ethics bill might keep them from scratching each other’s backs. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • The Austin American Statesman is moving printing and packing operations to San Antonio and Houston, resulting in about a 100 jobs lost in Austin. Previously. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Social Justice Warriors can’t even win elections at UCLA.
  • Austin’s Highland Mall closed on April 30th.
  • LinkSwarm for April 26, 2015

    Monday, April 27th, 2015

    Did you miss the riots in Baltimore on Saturday? You know, the ones CNN and other media outlets didn’t cover because they were too busy covering the White House Correspondent’s Dinner? Because mere rioting by the uncouth peasantry must wait while the overclass is engaged in glad-handing celebration of itself.

    In other news:

  • This was a big story last week: Wisconsin Democratic prosecutors raid houses of those accused of Republicanism. And more on the same theme.
  • Q: What do you call a 13-year who was the victim of a Muslim pedophile sex ring? A: “Racist.” (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Lutfur Rahman, the corrupt muslim Labour Mayor of Tower Hamlets, was convicted of election fraud. The Labour crew behind Tower Hamlets became so notorious for rigging elections and turning in results late that they became a running joke in UK political circles. (Hat tip: Ditto.)
  • Three Muslims charged with killing a woman in Houston because she helped convert a relative to Christianity.
  • Boko Haram is now the Islamic State in West Africa.
  • “I would describe today’s meeting as a complete breakdown in communication with Greece.” Oh, I think Greece is communicating loud and clear: They’re completely broke, and they demand the right to continue spending other people’s money indefinitely without reforming their welfare state. What’s unclear?
  • And Greeks themselves are not so happy about capital controls. Well, Greeks voted for a government dedicated to the idea that the welfare state is far more sacred than the capitalism that underpins it, and now they’re starting to reap the rewards of that choice…
  • Tech stock growth: Positive or negative? Depends on whether you include Apple or not.
  • The Comcast/Time Warner merger is officially dead. Good. Perhaps both of them should consider offering customer service that ranks higher than “abysmal” now…
  • Michael Totten reviews ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.
  • Dwight Howard, gun collector.
  • Building an affordable survival rifle.
  • Actors quit play about Ferguson because the objective truth of the screenplay (based on the actual grand jury testimony) conflicts with their preexisting beliefs. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Mayonnaise loyalty.
  • Pets looking at food. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Texas House Passes Open Carry

    Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

    House Bill 910, which gives Texas Concealed Handgun License holders the right to open carry, has passed the Texas House. Since the Senate has already passed a version, and Governor Greg Abbott has promised to sign the bill, its all over but the gun grabbers shouting about how it will result in a state-wide bloodbath.

    You know, just like happened after concealed carry passed.

    Here’s the text of the law.

    Rep. Jason Villalba’s War on Photography, Bloggers and Gun Owners

    Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

    There’s been much talk about how State Rep. Jason Villalba’s House Bill 2918 criminalizes bloggers filming police officers, especially if they’re CHL holders who happen to be lawfully carrying at the time. Worse yet, it takes the “some animals are more equal than others” approach to First Amendment rights, declaring MSM employees as “real journalists” and bloggers, citizens journalists and everyone else as second class citizens.

    Texas State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Texas) has found himself at the center of controversy after filing a bill that would make it a crime for bloggers and independent journalists — as well as regular citizens — to film police officers. Despite the backlash from free speech advocates, Villalba is insisting that his bill “does not infringe on constitutional rights” or “limit liberty in any way.”

    The current law, Section 38.15(1) of the Texas Penal Code, makes it a crime if anyone “interrupts, disrupts, impedes, or otherwise interferes with a peace officer while the peace officer is performing a duty or exercising authority imposed or granted by law.”

    The bill, HB 2918, adds to the definition of what constitutes “interfering” with an officer’s duties, and would make it a Class B Misdemeanor to film, record, photograph, or document the officer within 25 feet while that officer is performing his official duties. That distance is extended to 100 feet if the person is carrying a concealed handgun. There is an exception for news media, but the current language of the bill does not include bloggers, independent journalists, or private citizens, and it is not clear whether online media outlets would be included in the exception either.

    The fact that CHL holders are statistically among the most lawful citizens, having already passed an extensive background check, seems lost on Rep. Villalba (who seems to be trying very hard to win the title of worst Republican state representative).

    The bill would also prevent people from recording their own encounters with police, which adds a due process violation cherry on top of Villalba’s disdain for the first and second amendment.

    However, the unconstitutional stupidity doesn’t stop there. If you read the actual text of the bill, there’s no allowance made for private property. So if I’m filing a police officer arrest someone in the street 15 feet in front of my house, Villalba’s proposed law says I’m committing a crime.

    Being a police officer is a difficult and necessary job, but ordinary citizens filming them aren’t endangering their lives. Rep. Villalba seems to have no understanding that the right retained by the people themselves are part of our Constitution’s series of checks and balances.

    Villalba’s bill addresses no demonstrable abuse and attempts to limit the rights of citizens for no clear gain. It’s almost certainly headed for the dustbin of legislative neglect, but one wonders why Rep. Villalba felt the need to introduce it at all…

    NRA Forces Obama To Cry Uncle on AR-15 Ammo Ban

    Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

    Well, that didn’t take long:

    The National Rifle Association (NRA) was instrumental in stalling the Obama Administration’s initial attempt to ban commonly used ammunition for the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15. The announcement that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) will suspend its proposed framework to ban M855 ammunition validates the NRA’s assertion that this effort was nothing more than a political maneuver to bypass Congress and impose gun control on the American people.

    “Today’s announcement proves what we have said all along — this was 100% political. President Obama failed to pass gun control through Congress, so he tried to impose his political agenda through executive fiat. But every gun owner in America needs to understand Barack Obama’s hatred of the Second Amendment has not changed,” said Wayne La Pierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association.

    BATFE first floated the ban on February 13, and unlike Obama’s other bad executive orders, this one ran straight into the buzzsaw of an active, articulate, organized bloc of voters.

    From Fast & Furious to Mayors Against Illegal Guns Moms Demand Action Everytown USA Gun Sense to the latest ammo ban, has there been a single national gun control attempt under the Obama Administration that hasn’t ended in miserable failure?

    Highlights from Governor Abbott’s State of the State Address

    Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott gave his State of the State address yesterday, and there’s plenty to talk about. Some highlights:

  • “Last week, Comptroller Hegar reported that sales tax revenue in January increased by 11 percent, surging to an all-time record. It’s the 58th consecutive month of year-over-year sales tax growth.”
  • “But the best way to create more jobs is to permanently reduce the business franchise tax.I will reject any budget that does not include genuine tax relief to Texas employers and job creators. I will also insist on property tax reduction. It’s time for property owners – not government – to truly own their property. My plan calls for a $2 billion reduction in the business franchise tax and a $2.2 billion reduction in the property tax burden.”
  • “To keep Texas the premiere model for opportunity, we must constrain the size of government and maximize the liberty of individuals. To protect taxpayers from government growing too big, we need a constitutional amendment that limits the growth of the state budget to population growth plus inflation.”
  • “To keep Texas the premiere model for opportunity, we must constrain the size of government and maximize the liberty of individuals. To protect taxpayers from government growing too big, we need a constitutional amendment that limits the growth of the state budget to population growth plus inflation.”
  • “Many of us have ridiculed states like California and Illinois as bastions of failed big government. You’ll be surprised to learn that Texas has more full-time state employees per capita than California and Illinois. That’s shocking – it must be changed. That’s why my budget requires most state agencies to reduce their general revenue spending by three percent.”
  • “I will expand liberty in Texas by signing a law that makes Texas the 45th state to allow Open Carry.”
  • So far it seems that Abbott is serious about governing as he campaigned…

    District Court Rules for Gun Owners on Interstate Handgun Sales

    Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

    Dwight just alerted me to the ruling in Mance vs. Holder (decision linked thanks to the indefatigable efforts of the tireless Instapundit) which strikes down the federal ban on interstate handgun sales.

    The Court concludes that Defendants [Holder at. al.] have not shown that the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is narrowly tailored to be the least restrictive means of achieving the Government’s goals under current law. The federal interstate handgun transfer ban is therefore unconstitutional on its face.

    Possibly more later, when I’ve had time to digest the full ruling and its implications. It’s a virtual certainty that the Obama Administration will appeal.

    Dan Patrick Sends Three Second Amendment Bills On To Committee

    Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

    Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced that he’s sending three pro-Second Amendment bills to the Senate State Affairs Committee:

  • Senate Bill 11 (SB 11), An act relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education, by Sen. Brian Birdwell (SD22).
  • Senate Bill 342 (SB 342), Relating to providing for the open and concealed carrying of handguns without a license and to related offenses and penalties, by Sen. Don Huffines (SD16).
  • Senate Bill 346 (SB 346), Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun, by Sen. Craig Estes (SD30).
  • Except for the effectivity date, the campus carry bill is essentially identical to Birdwell’s SB 182 in the 83rd legislative session, which was killed in 2013.

    SB342 provides for essentially unlimited constitutional carry, while SB346 would authorize open carry only for CHL holders. I think it’s canny of Patrick to advance both at the same time. Some squishy republicans may balk at universal carry, but voting for SB 346 will allow them to split the difference and still appear pro-gun.

    One possible snag for any pro Second Amendment bill: the Senate Criminal Justice Committee is still headed by Democrat John Whitmire. However, since Whitmire is considerably more pro-gun than the average Democrat this may not be a problem.

    Will Speaker Joe Straus kill pro-Second Amendment bills in the House? He’s killed some in the past, but he’s also been very careful not to leave his fingerprints on the knife. Given how Straus has crowed about endorsements from the NRA and the Texas State Rifle Association, I’m guessing he won’t go to the mat to kill popular Second Amendment bills supported by a clear majority of senators. Straus is another reason I think SB 346 is more likely to pass than SB 342.

    Hsoi/John Daub Shooting Follow-Up

    Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

    A bit more information on the Hsoi/John Daub self-defense shooting of autistic home invader Jared James has come to light that wasn’t in my original story.

    The original news reports said things like James “forced his way onto the threshold of one of the homes.” What they actual meant was he battered at the door so hard he broke the frame:

    Also, new information shows that the late Mr. James was not quite the “gentle giant” some reports tried to paint:

    This fall, for reasons that she [the mother] didn’t understand, [Catalina] Leverette [the mother] said her son had developed a tendency toward unpredictable outbursts, at times running through the house yelling. She knew the police had responded to calls about her son, and newly obtained police reports show two calls in 2014 for an “emotionally disturbed person” involving James.

    Also this:

    “On Dec. 11, [police] took James to a psychiatric hospital under court order.”

    The James shooting was a tragedy, all right, but it was a tragedy of the health system not being able to get a mentally ill man the type help he obviously needed.