January 10, 2024
The ongoing debate around assault weapons bans in the United States reveals a concerning trend toward broad restrictions on semi-automatic firearms, including commonly owned shotguns and handguns.
Recent legislative efforts like the GOSAFE Act, pushed by the Biden administration and supported by groups such as Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety, are raising alarms among gun rights advocates.
These bans, often disguised as targeting “weapons of war,” or AR-15 style rifles, actually encompass a much wider range of firearms than many realize, threatening the rights of average gun owners.
The “assault weapons” bans are often predicated on cosmetic features like pistol grips or the capacity to accept detachable magazines, which are characteristics of the majority of firearms in America. This approach ignores the functional aspects of these weapons, where only one bullet fires per trigger pull, and instead focuses on superficial attributes that do not impact the firearm’s rate of fire or operational mechanism.
This issue was highlighted in the aftermath of the Perry, Iowa shooting, where a pump-action shotgun, not a semi-automatic rifle, was used. Despite this, gun control advocates Like the Newtown Action Alliance seized the opportunity to push for more stringent assault weapons bans. Such exploitation of tragedies for political ends undermines genuine efforts to enhance public safety.
In Texas, there’s growing concern about the response of some Republican legislators to these types of anti-gun initiatives. The Texas House committee responsible for gun legislation, under the leadership of Speaker Dade Phelan, has been criticized for many actions taken during the 2023 legislative session.
Notably, the committee voted to ban 18-20-year-olds from purchasing or possessing certain rifles (HB 2744), with Republicans Justin Holland and Sam Harless siding with Democrats.
Additionally, the committee failed to pass Texas Gun Rights-backed legislation prohibiting red flag gun confiscation laws (HB 1894) after the same two Republicans on the committee walked the vote, empowering Democrats to kill the bill. Another Texas Gun Rights priority, the Second Amendment Preservation Act (HB 5153), which would have strengthened Texas’ “Second Amendment Sanctuary Law” by adding penalties to agents enforcing unconstitutional gun control in Texas, was also killed without so much as a committee hearing.
Thanks to the pressure from Texas Gun Rights and other grassroots activists, HB 2744 was kept from receiving a vote by the full House of Representatives. But SB 728, which codified parts of Biden’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) into law by funneling more juvenile records into the flawed nics gun ban registry, passed through both chambers of the legislature and was even signed by Governor Abbott.
Sadly (and unsurprisingly), the National Rifle Association (NRA), traditionally seen as a staunch defender of gun rights, has made things worse by endorsing Speaker Phelan and other gun control-supporting Republicans like State Representative Glenn Rogers (Fort Worth) for the 2024 Republican Primary:
While the NRA credits Republicans like Phelan and Rogers for passing Constitutional Carry in 2021, they are seemingly overlooking their more recent anti-gun actions.
Some say it is ignorance, claiming the NRA is an out of state organization that simply isn’t paying attention closely enough before deciding to meddle in Texas elections. Others say it is a willful attempt to protect the status quo and establishment Republicans in office so that they can build loyalty among politicians instead of gun owners.
According to Chris McNutt, President of Texas Gun Rights, this perceived “lack of accountability for politicians is a key factor to the defensive position gun owners find themselves in far too often in a “red state” like Texas, as elected officials deviate from their campaign promises and constitutional oaths.”
In response, Texas Gun Rights is actively preparing for the Republican primaries to hold these legislators accountable for their anti-gun actions, regardless if they once supported Constitutional Carry legislation or not.
The organization emphasizes the need to prioritize defeating the Biden gun ban agenda in November, advocating for unwavering support for the Second Amendment, and a return to principle-based gun rights advocacy.
This approach seeks to ensure that the rights of law-abiding gun owners are not compromised in the face of political pressure and media-driven narratives on gun control.