House Bill 928, a strong gun rights bill, met an inglorious end in Texas after opponents had concerns over logistics and the constitutionality of the would-be law. The bill would have made it illegal for state and local police officers to enforce federal gun control laws in Texas.
Sen. Craig Estes (R) championed the bill in order to follow in the footsteps of Louisiana, which recently passed a similar law.
Estes met strong opposition from democratic Senator Rodney Ellis, who told Estes, "I could be for this if you take an amendment I’m going to offer to your bill. I’m going to offer an amendment to close the 'gun show loophole.'”
Naturally, Estes wasn’t keen on filling his pro-gun bill with anti-gun amendments. "The criminal background checks at gun shows would doom this wonderful bill that we are trying to do right here," he replied.
Political opposition wasn’t the bill’s only problem. Other Senators had major concerns about the constitutionality of the bill, specifically whether or not it would violate the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. Sen. Wendy Davis asked, “So a municipality would not be able to use their police resources, for example, to enforce a federal law?”
Estes confirmed that her understanding was correct, which earned him several minutes of silence from the unmoved Senators. At that point, Estes realized the bill didn’t have a bright future and killed the bill.
It probably just saved them a lot of time and energy. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder threatened Kansas legislators for supporting a similar law. He promised that he would “take all appropriate action, including litigation if necessary” in order to stop the law.
If the bill had passed, it would have probably also fallen into Holder’s crosshairs.
Additionally, the bill would have created a mucky situation with Texas state resources. Under the bill, the Texas Attorney General would have to be the lead prosecutor whenever a local Texas government was caught enforcing a federal gun law. That would add a mountain of paperwork to an already overburdened attorney general.
Democratic opposition, legal concerns, and logistic issues ensured that this bill died long before it reached the governor’s desk.