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