The Texas legislature is currently considering a bill that would revoke the ability of Texas cities, towns and counties to pass common-sense public safety measures designed to keep their communities safe. HB 3231 could come to a vote on the House floor as early as Monday, April 29.
The bill is an attempt to punish local officials who are taking steps to prevent gun violence. Existing Texas law prevents counties, municipalities and local officials from regulating firearms in almost any way. This bill would drastically expand that law by giving attorneys and other out-of-state special interest groups the power to sue local governments for passing reasonable gun laws.
This extreme bill would make Texas one of only a handful of states with punitive preemption laws that allow localities to be taken to court simply for enforcing public safety laws. Further, the bill would entitle special interest groups to staggeringly large payouts at the expense of Texas taxpayers.
With a vague preemption standard, the bill would intimidate local officials from enacting policies that address gun violence in any way — even if those measures are completely legal — out of fear of legal liability. Thus, the bill could also threaten many existing programs in Texas communities that keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
HB 3231 is yet another way the Texas legislature is allowing the gun lobby to strong-arm local officials that are trying to create safer communities. More information on firearm preemption laws is available here. If you’d like to learn more about this dangerous bill, please don’t hesitate to reach out.