May 2005

Downrange: 05/05

“CONCEALED” CARRY NAMES
One of my favorite Texas legislators, State Rep. Suzanna Gratia Hupp, R-Lampasas, doesn’t think Texans should have to disclose that they are carrying a concealed handgun. So she introduced House Bill 318, which would prevent public disclosure of the names of people who hold concealed handgun licenses.

The bill passed the Texas House of Representatives in March by a 113-30 vote. The bill, similar to one passed by the House in 2003, deletes the requirement that the Texas Department of Public Safety must release the identity of a license holder to the public.

Hupp, whose family was murdered by a gunman in a Luby’s restaurant in Killeen more than a decade ago, said the legislation is necessary to protect the privacy of concealed handgun license holders.

The DPS still would provide information on license holders to other criminal justice agencies. Reporters and researchers could continue to collect statistical summaries on the 236,499 Texans who hold licenses. In 2004, the DPS received 136 requests for the identity of license holders.

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Protecting your castle. Floridians could shoot violent home intruders and carjackers under a bill that cleared a key hurdle in the Senate in March. With 83 sponsors in the House and 29 in the Senate, the bill (SB 436) is virtually guaranteed passage.

Marion Hammer, a veteran lobbyist for the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and former president of the National Rifle Association, said existing law requires people to seek a safe escape or other way of avoiding a deadly confrontation. She said the bill is needed to protect people who act in self-defense in the face of a genuine threat.

Hammer said the bill also protects residents from civil liability for injuring someone who breaks into their homes.

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The taxman cometh. Maine gun owners may be being singled out to pay for a new tax to help improve security in the state’s courthouses.

A proposed 7 percent tax on sales of guns and ammunition would produce as much as $1.1 million a year to tighten courthouse security. The tax would be added to the state’s existing 5 percent sales tax.

Gun-control advocates say that gun owners contribute to the need for more court security, so they should help pay to keep firearms out of the courthouses. Representatives of the Maine Gun Owners Association and the local chapter of the National Rifle Association say the tax is a penalty on Mainers who use guns legally.

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I’ll have a Roy Rogers, please. Tennessee’s Restaurant Carry Bill, SB 1901, has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7-1. This legislation will make Tennessee one of over 30 states that allow permit holders to carry self-defense firearms in restaurants and other establishments that serve alcohol.


-Todd Woodard