Good Legislation or bad idea? — GRIT #093

Lubbock Police Department, and Negligent Discharges

  • LPD closed range due to Negligent Discharges
  • Two NDs within two weeks led to the decision to suspend firearms training until it could be reviewed and revised.
    • First discharge occurred on 9/28/2016 at the range inside a vehicle.
    • Second occurred on 10/09/2016 inside a classroom.
  • A third ND occurred on 10/16/16 at a suspect’s residence.
    • Round was discharged through a fence and into the ground.
    • Suspect was believed to be armed at the time.
  • Why this is a concern for citizens
    • Texas Government Code Section 411.207 authorizes an officer to disarm a licensee if the officer feels it is necessary for their safety, the safety of the license holder, or the safety of one or more third parties.
    • Case law may also a mechanism for temporarily disarming someone for the same reasons, primarily officer safety.
    • Many officers have never handled a firearm prior to entering the police academy as a result are only familiar with the firearms they have been trained on and/or issued.
    • Many officers will clear a firearm when they take possession of it.
      • An officer who can not properly clear a firearm they are trained to operate, and have to qualify with, has no business trying to clear a firearm they know nothing about.  This can lead to a potential negligent Discharge of the unfamiliar firearm.  Such a negligent discharge can result in property damage, serious injury, or even death for the officer and public in the immediate area.

It Sounds like a Good Idea, but is it really…

  • Every two years we see pro-gun folks who want to gut or eliminate 30.06, and now 30.07.
    • The logic is usually other states have laws where signs have no authority by law, only oral notification is valid.
    • A few use the logic that property owners should be able to use any sign, in any format, in any language, in any size, located anywhere to tell you firearms are not prohibited.
      • This is the same logic used by gun control activists
    • The Texas legislature will not pass a law where signs have no force of law, if anything there is more support for our opponents position of allowing ANY sign to serve as effective notice.
    • Some say that 30.06, and now 30.07, is equivalent to having a legally binding sign that allows property owners to ban a specific religion or ethnicity from their property.
  • We are seeing a push for a law to hold property owners liable for injuries and deaths on their property if they post signs prohibiting legal carry.
    • Current liability law works on whole different basis.
    • If you do not like a businesses prohibition on firearms you can choose to do business with their competitor.
    • What if someone attacks a business that isn’t posted but a license holder is present and unarmed anyway?
    • What about property owners who are required by law or regulation to post their property?
    • What kind of liability or protection does a property owner have should a someone carrying a firearm negligently discharge their weapon while on the property?
    • What kind of liability or protection does a business have under such legislation should an innocent bystander be injured by a criminal or license holder who are involved in a gunfight?
  • Remove or change the holster requirement for OC, also apply it to concealed carry as well.
    • Currently one can open carry in a Belt or shoulder holster, the law does not define what they are.
    • Some want no holster requirement.
      • Perhaps they wish to carry in their waistband or in their hand.
    • Some want the holster requirement modified so that any holster will do.
      • Some will say any holster on the body.
    • Some folks want to see a holster requirement for concealed carry as well.
      • A handgun concealed in a lock box, glove box, console, or other location in a vehicle would also have to be holstered.
  • What we should concentrate on
    • Removing off limits locations.
    • Fixing issues and improving the Fines for Signs law.
      • Add support for signs that reference 30.07, 46.03, and 46.035.
      • Property leased to private entity
    • Clean up and expand the current law as it relates to Concealed and Open Carry.
    • Building a solid foundation for unlicensed carry for when we can get the legislature to pass it.
    • Making friends in the legislature, not enemies.
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