Tuesday at the State Capital was about what I expected. The Senate Committee was a little bit of a shock. Inside the hearing room was standing room only, and about 1/3 to a half of those were there for SB730. Keep in mind that there were only 6 bills to be discussed. TV cameras from local stations were there, although I'm not sure it was entirely for our bill.
Those for the bill (us) went first in comments. The comments were well reasoned, sane, and honest. The folks against the bill threw up all sorts of "they might shoot someone" or "We think..." or even "Our members feel upset...." It was the same old things we've all heard. One of those opposed was representing the oil and gas processing businesses. He stated that they were afraid that a gun might go off, and a bullet could cause an explosion at a tank farm.
Let me take a moment to sing praises of one person for a second. Jerry Patterson is the Commissioner of the General Land Office for Texas. He has been a Senator and as such passed the Concealed Handgun Law. I have seen him speak on behalf of Texans in regards to gun ownership and CHL's in particular twice in person now. I have spoken to him each time. I feel like he may be THE strongest friend we have in Austin. He really knows and trust Texans to carry firearms, and he goes out of his way to promote CHL's. In fact he stated in the hearing yesterday that his office allows employees to carry at work. His office also offers instruction and CHL training to its employees after hours.
Overall the committee heard sane and well reasoned discourse from us, and a lot of panty shitting hysteria from those opposed.
The members of the committee seemed to be in favor of the bill, and I think it will be passed out of committee to the Senate soon.
We also have to pass the House bill out of Committee. Those hearings are next Monday. If there are any gun owners who live in the house district of Tommy Merritt, district 7 which is Longview, Kilgor and the top of Smith County, we need your help!
Merritt is the chairman of the House Committee on Public Safety which has the bill for consideration. He is kinda luke warm on it. Anyone in his district would be helping by calling his office and urging him to pass the bill. If anyone could show up Monday to speak to the committee from his district that would make a large impact also.
All in all I think we are moving forward.