“President Biden’s latest gun control scheme is misguided at best and pandering at worst. Felons aren’t going to pay one bit of attention to these new regulations and if they were, the White House certainly would have laid claim to how much violent crime would be reduced in their announcement. This is a “feel-good” measure that will only impact those who are already law abiding citizens.

Keep in mind, we have been building our own firearms in the United States since we landed on the shores of this great country. President Biden’s new anti-2nd Amendment “regulations” ignore history and will do nothing to help law abiding citizens.

Really, I see them not as regulations but as a new law and I believe that will be part of the basis of the lawsuits that will inevitably come as a result.

Perhaps it is time for this administration to pay more attention to keeping felons off the streets and stop stripping law-abiding citizens of their right to keep and bear arms.”

Andi Turner

TSRA Legislative Director

In 2A Ricochet Episode 10, Andi continues her conversation with Stephen Willeford, who became a Texas hero when he ended a killer’s rampage at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on November 5, 2017.

Mr. Willeford was honored at the 2018 NRA convention in Dallas where he and Johnnie Langendorf, the pickup driver who helped pursue the killer, received special-edition rifles from Anthony Imperato, president of Henry Repeating Arms.

In 2019, the Texas Senate formally recognized Mr. Willeford’s courage and resolve.

Andi and Stephen also discuss the settlement order issued by U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez earlier this month. Judge Rodriguez, who had previously determined that negligence on the U.S. Air Force was a major factor in the killer’s ability to acquire the guns he used, ordered the government to pay $230 million to survivors and families of those slain.

U.S. Carry-Halfway

Mike Collier, who is the leading contender for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor, recently sent out a fundraising email with some real whoppers about “gun violence” and pro-2A legislation in Texas.

The TSRA-PAC wants to set the record straight.

Claim 1: “At a time when gun violence is at an all-time high in our state, we need to elect leaders who will work with law enforcement, business owners, and gun safety advocates like Moms Demand Action to keep our communities safe because enough is enough.”

Truth: Collier claims “gun violence” is at “an all-time high” which is an outright lie. According to 40 years of data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1981 to 2020, the rate of fatal injury from gunshot wounds in 2020 was 39% lower than it was in 1981. The gun-related homicide rate was 50% lower. In fact, looking at the weighted average rate for the first 20 years of the 40-year period and comparing it to the second 20 years, the second period’s rate was 35% lower for all gunshot fatalities and 47% lower for homicides.

Yes, Texas did see a spike in firearm-related deaths in 2020. So did California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island – and their spikes were higher than Texas’.

Moms Demand Action is a gun control advocacy group but it has no interest in promoting actual firearm safety. The group was formed shortly after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary and immediately adopted an agenda of gun control measures that would not have had any impact on the incident.

Claim 2: “In the Texas Senate, Dan Patrick has been focused on advancing the GOP’s dangerous and reckless agenda, championing legislation like House Bill 1927 that makes it easier for people to access firearms without a permit or background check — including criminals and domestic terrorists. (It is now easier to obtain a deadly weapon than to go fishing… because fishing still requires a permit in Texas.)”

Truth: Collier’s nose gets even longer with this claim. HB 1927, which became the Texas Carry Act when Governor Abbott signed it into law last June, has nothing to do with acquiring a firearm. It only deals with carrying of handguns by citizens legally able to possess them.

The process of legally acquiring a firearm from a licensed dealer in Texas hasn’t changed since the FBI’s NICS system became operational in 1998 and Texas has never required a permit to acquire a firearm.

This particular lie has become all too common as Democrats and gun control advocates try to confuse the public.

Claim 3: “But the truth is, if Patrick worked half as hard to address the very real safety concerns of Texans all over the state as he does waging cultural wars and catering to a slim minority every chance he gets, maybe we would be making a better, safer state for all Texans to call home.

The vast majority of Texans and law enforcement support common-sense gun safety reform, but Dan Patrick continues to put partisan games over the will and livelihood of the people.”

Truth: The claim is based on polls of pre-screened participants answering questions deliberately slanted to achieve the desired results.

The Sheriff’s Association of Texas did not take a position on the Texas Carry Act but the Texas Police Chiefs Association did oppose HB 1927, citing concerns about safety training, It is only fair to note the TPCA also testified against SB 60, Texas’ first-ever handgun carry permit law, in 1995, saying the then-15-hour course wasn’t enough. It’s worth noting that the weighted average homicide rate in the first ten years after the 1995 law went into effect was 50% lower than it was in the 10 years before SB 60 became the law.

So-called “common-sense” gun safety reform is more nonsense than sensible. How can anyone say laws that are unconstitutional, unenforceable, and have never shown any sign of producing the promised result, are common-sense? Easy, they just tell more lies.

I have received numerous emails and phone calls about some incorrect information that’s being put out there by some groups.

We, here at the TSRA and TSRA-PAC will not sacrifice accuracy in order to raise money.

Getting to the matter at hand. There was an appropriations bill passed recently in DC to cover a number of fiscal matters. Part of that bill was the “Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act” (Short name: “VAWA”).

No, contrary to what is being claimed, the Feds cannot just come down to Texas and force our law enforcement officers (LEO’s) into federal service. This is also called “Commandeering” and it has been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. LEOs in every state could voluntarily do that–even before this bill passed. But remember, we are now a 2A Sanctuary State. Texas law enforcement can’t enforce any new federal gun laws that are not also Texas gun laws.

There’s also information out there about those who go to buy a gun and are rejected by the NICS system. Some are claiming two things: a) the FFL’s are now required to to report all negative outcomes from NICS checks –this is FALSE and b) that an inordinate amount of of “false-negatives” are coming out of the system–also FALSE. The claim that I have seen is that up 90% of these background checks that come back as disapproved are “false-negatives”. This is not accurate information or even close. We’ve done the research. It’s more like maybe 5%.

Even if our estimate is off by a bit, it is easy to say that 90-some percent of the rejections by NICS are accurate and frankly, I’m okay with criminals being caught by that system. We at the TSRA and TSRA-PAC have always backed the Constitutional Right to keep and bear arms by LAW ABIDING citizens and will continue to do so.

If you’d like to read more about the bill or the previous and (in my opinion) very interesting SCOTUS ruling on these subjects, the NRA-ILA put out a great Alert on this.

https://www.nraila.org/articles/20220315/congress-passes-fy22-appropriations-package-with-vawa-reauthorization

Andi Turner
Legislative Director, TSRA

On Tuesday, March 22, 2022, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed House Bill 1296, making the Hoosier State the 24th constitutional carry state.

Earlier this month, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine added their states to the roster.

Up until 2003, Vermont was the only permitless carry state and had been since its first constitution in 1777. Vermont is a true constitutional carry state as its constitution doesn’t even allow the state to create a permitting process.

In June 2003, Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski signed HB 102, creating the second permitless carry state. Since then, 22 more states have eliminated the requirement for a government-issued permit or license to carry a handgun, either openly or concealed. A citizen who is legally allowed to possess a firearm under federal and state laws can truly “keep and bear arms,” the fundamental right protected by the Second Amendment.

On June 16, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 1927, making the Lone Star state the 21st member of the group.

Virtually all of the constitutional carry states recognize the right of all American citizens to bear arms, regardless of their actual state of official residence. Idaho and Wyoming repealed their residency requirements in 2021, leaving North Dakota as the sole holdout that still limits permitless carry to state residents. While the goal of nationwide reciprocity, where a permit issued by one state is honored in all other states, is still only a goal with many challenges, the informal 23-state “reciprocity” of constitutional carry offers a lot of advantages. [It’s important to note that states that previously required licenses still offer them and there are still important advantages to being licensed to carry.]

There are now more permitless carry states than there are states that require a permit to carry a handgun outside of the home or place of business. Permitless carry states also outnumber states with universal background checks, weapon bans, restrictions on magazine capacity, red flag laws, permits to possess or purchase, or waiting periods. In the Twenty-First Century, permitless carry has become the most popular gun law enacted.

Sadly, it should be noted that changing political demographics in Vermont has led to the imposition of some of these measures in the original constitutional carry state despite the fact that Vermont has long enjoyed one of the lowest violent crime rates in the U.S.

Legislatures in Florida, Georgia, and Nebraska are considering their own permitless carry laws and it is possible that the majority of states will be permitless carry by the end of 2022. Another possibility is Louisiana, where the legislature passed a permitless carry bill, only to have it vetoed by Governor John Bel Edwards. There was an effort to override the veto, but a few legislators changed their votes at the last minute and the effort failed. The 2022 session of the Louisiana Legislature just opened and runs through June, so it is possible lawmakers will take another shot.

Gun control advocates have become almost Pavlovian in their responses to permitless carry legislation. Instead of salivating, they predict blood running in the streets, increased dangers to police, and false claims the proposed laws will make it easier for those prohibited from possessing firearms to obtain them. Despite the fact that none of the predictions have come true, they are still raised and still receive far more media coverage than they merit.

Bill Cawthon
Editor, TSRA Sportsman

Two of the three Texas leaders who helped us get constitutional (permitless) carry last year and made the Lone Star state a Second Amendment Sanctuary state cruised to easy primary victories in the primary elections held on March first.
Governor Greg Abbott collected 67% of the votes cast while Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s tally was even higher at 77% of the voters. Both Abbott and Patrick were rated A+ by the National Rifle Association and endorsed by the Texas State Rifle Association.

The third member of the triad, House Speaker Dade Phelan, was not only unchallenged in the primaries, he doesn’t have any opposition in November. He will be back in action when the 88th Texas Legislature convenes next January.

Abbott will face Beto “Hell, yeah, we’re coming for your AR-15s” O’Rourke, the overwhelming choice of desperate Democrats hoping to bring back the 150-year-old racist carry law from the Reconstruction Era and enact a confiscatory ban on popular rifles.

It will take a runoff scheduled for May 24 to determine Patrick’s opponent in November. Mike Collier and Michele Beckley garnered the most votes but neither crossed the 50% required for an outright victory.

Collier is a Democratic rerun who claims to own a gun but he is a bit fuzzy on the Second Amendment. Collier’s position on gun rights can be summed up by his own words: “I will also fight to enact into law red flag laws and end permitless carry which does nothing more than make our communities less safe.”

Michelle Beckley was formerly the state representative for House District 65. She was one of the group of Democratic legislators who fled the state during the 2021 session in an attempt to block our state’s new voting law When polled on her positions on guns she affirmed that she supported gun control legislation, universal background checks and requiring a license to possess a gun. About the only thing she opposed was armed teachers, something Texas has had since 2007 without a single mishap.

There are still too many races headed to runoffs, which is typical for a Texas primary. Once the dust settles after the runoffs, we’ll be posting our endorsements for the general election in November.

In the meantime, for Texas gun owners and friends of the Second Amendment, the choices couldn’t be more clear-cut for governor and lieutenant governor. Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick deserve your support.

The ATF has become a leaderless, rogue agency more concerned with an agenda than its duties. It answers to the President but, just like the nation’s Chief Executive, it is limited to those powers granted to the President under Article II of the U.S. Constitution.

With the goal of clamping down on the ATF’s power grab, Representative Chip Roy (R-TX21) has introduced H.R. 6817 the No Backdoor Gun Control Act.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was created in 1941 to enforce federal gun laws, primarily the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Federal Firearms Act of 1938. Over its history, it has been part of the Bureau of the Treasury and the Department of Justice. For a time, it was even a federal agency on its own, with a director who reported directly to the President.  In 2003, the agency was split, with the enforcement division being transferred to the Department of Justice and the revenue duties going to the Department of the Treasury.

The ATF has not had a director for nearly seven years. President Biden nominated David Chipman, an ex-ATF agent who became a senior policy advisor for the gun control-advocating Giffords Law Center last year, but, in a Presidential face-saving move, the nomination was withdrawn before it could be shot down by opponents.

The important thing to remember is that the ATF is part of the Executive Branch and is an enforcement agency. This is, it exists to carry out the laws passed by Congress. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that allows the Executive Branch, including all of its agencies and departments, to change the laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.

Agencies typically have broad powers to create regulations to enforce the law, but no power to change it.

However, in recent years, the ATF has been doing just that. The most egregious example of this is the Bump-Stock ban in which the ATF decided to rewrite the definition of a machine gun that has been in place for nearly 90 years. In addition, the ban was a confiscatory measure, violating citizens’ Fifth Amendment rights because there was no provision for compensation.

Currently, the ATF is contemplating redefining pistols equipped with braces intended to aid in one-hand shooting or to allow the use of a pistol by a physically challenged person. The agency wants to classify these as short-barreled rifles, requiring owners to register them with the federal government and pay a $200 transfer tax on property they legally owned.

H.R. 6817 calls for stripping the catch-all “any other weapon” (AOW) classification from the NFA by amending the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Any other weapon is officially defined as:

  • Any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive;

  • A pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell;

  • Weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading; and

  • Any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire.

  • Such term shall not include a pistol or a revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammunition.

The examples of AOWs shown on the ATF website are mostly arcane and obsolete but the definition is still vague and could open the door for the ATF to creatively “reinterpret” the definition and subject perfectly legal firearms to being lumped in with machine guns and dangerous devices.

“Bearing arms in self-defense is a human right,” Said Rep. Roy during the announcement of H.R. 6817. “It is evident from the ATF’s behavior that, under Joe Biden’s Department of Justice, the agency is hellbent on attacking the Second Amendment through every means at its disposal. I am grateful for my colleagues’ work in Congress to remove short-barreled rifles and shotguns (SBRs, SBSs) from regulation under the National Firearms Act. However, should that legislation be successful in doing so, the NFA’s ‘Any Other Weapon’ provision would still allow an anti-gun administration to use the ATF to unilaterally regulate these firearms, and, more importantly, target their owners. The No Backdoor Gun Control Act would close this notable loophole and help protect law-abiding gun owners”

The bill already has 25 cosponsors, including Texas Representatives Michael Cloud, Dan Crenshaw, Louie Gohmert, Ronny Jackson and Randy Weber. Out-of-state cosponsors include Lauren Boebert and Thomas Massie, who sparked media last December by posting holiday photos showing family members holding firearms.

To read the text of the bill, click here

Bill Cawthon, Editor, TSRA Sportsman

On Wednesday, February 16, 2022, the National Shooting Sports Foundation released a statement on the settlement reached between the families of nine of the victims of the tragic murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 and Remington:

“The decision to settle in the Soto v. Bushmaster case was not made by a member of the firearms industry. The settlement was reached between the plaintiffs and the various insurance carriers that held policies with Remington Outdoor Company (ROC), which effectively no longer exists.

“As part of bankruptcy court proceedings, the assets of ROC were sold at auction in September of 2020. Remington Outdoor Company, which owned the Bushmaster brand, effectively ceased to exist as a going concern. The lawsuit, however, continued against the estate of the Remington Outdoor Company, essentially ROC’s insurers and their insurance policies in effect at the time.

“The settlement also does not alter the fundamental facts of the case. The plaintiffs never produced any evidence that Bushmaster advertising had any bearing or influence over Nancy Lanza’s decision to legally purchase a Bushmaster rifle, nor on the decision of murderer Adam Lanza to steal that rifle, kill his mother in her sleep, and go on to commit the rest of his horrendous crimes. We renew our sincere sympathy for the victims of this unspeakable tragedy and all victims of violence committed through the misusing of any firearm. But the fact remains that modern sporting rifles are the most popular rifle in America with over 20 million sold to law abiding Americans and rifles, of any kind, are exceedingly rarely used in crime.

“The Connecticut Supreme Court wrote in its Soto v. Bushmaster (4-3) opinion, ‘[T]he plaintiffs allege that the defendants’ wrongful advertising magnified the lethality of the Sandy Hook massacre by inspiring Lanza or causing him to select a more efficiently deadly weapon for his attack. Proving such a causal link at trial may prove to be a Herculean task.’

NSSF believes the Court incorrectly allowed this one claim to go forward to discovery. We remain confident ROC would have prevailed if this case proceeded to trial.

“Finally, this settlement orchestrated by insurance companies has no impact on the strength and efficacy of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which remains the law of the land. PLCAA will continue to block baseless lawsuits that attempt to blame lawful industry companies for the criminal acts of third parties.”

— End of Statement —

Our Two Cents

The settlement was negotiated and will be paid by a group of four insurance companies. The reported settlement terms do include access to certain documents of Remington Outdoors, but does not include any admission of wrongdoing or liability by the insurers or Remington Outdoors.

When the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed the case to proceed to discovery, it made no comment. However, the U.S. Supreme Court did not, and did not imply, that it was taking a stand on the actual merits of the case. In fact, the court made no comment when it denied certiorari.

Despite the claims that have been made, and no doubt will continue to be made, about the settlement, none of the claims made by the plaintiffs were ever affirmed in a court of law and no new precedents have been set. The only time the plaintiffs’ assertions were subjected to a judicial decision was in the original lawsuit, which was based on a claim of negligent entrustment. That suit was dismissed by a Connecticut Superior Court judge in 2016.

-Bill Cawthon, Editor, TSRA Sportsman

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Two of the three Texas leaders who helped us get constitutional (permitless) carry last year and made the Lone Star state a Second Amendment Sanctuary state cruised to easy primary victories in the primary elections held on March first.
Governor Greg Abbott collected 67% of the votes cast while Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s tally was even higher at 77% of the voters. Both Abbott and Patrick were rated A+ by the National Rifle Association and endorsed by the Texas State Rifle Association.

The third member of the triad, House Speaker Dade Phelan, was not only unchallenged in the primaries, he doesn’t have any opposition in November. He will be back in action when the 88th Texas Legislature convenes next January.
Abbott will face Beto “Hell, yeah, we’re coming for your AR-15s” O’Rourke, the overwhelming choice of desperate Democrats hoping to bring back the 150-year-old racist carry law from the Reconstruction Era and enact a confiscatory ban on popular rifles.

It will take a runoff scheduled for May 24 to determine Patrick’s opponent in November. Mike Collier and Michele Beckley garnered the most votes but neither crossed the 50% required for an outright victory.
Collier is a Democratic rerun who claims to own a gun but he is a bit fuzzy on the Second Amendment. Collier’s position on gun rights can be summed up by his own words: “I will also fight to enact into law red flag laws and end permitless carry which does nothing more than make our communities less safe.”

Michelle Beckley was formerly the state representative for House District 65. She was one of the group of Democratic legislators who fled the state during the 2021 session in an attempt to block our state’s new voting law When polled on her positions on guns she affirmed that she supported gun control legislation, universal background checks and requiring a license to possess a gun. About the only thing she opposed was armed teachers, something Texas has had since 2007 without a single mishap.
There are still too many races headed to runoffs, which is typical for a Texas primary. Once the dust settles after the runoffs, we’ll be posting our endorsements for the general election in November.
In the meantime, for Texas gun owners and friends of the Second Amendment, the choices couldn’t be more clear-cut for governor and lieutenant governor. Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick deserve your support.