CLEAT thanks the two House members who are former law enforcement officers for their common-sense arguments that sent the open-carry legislation to a conference committee.
Reps. Phil King and Allen Fletcher, both longtime CLEAT friends, argued persuasively on Wednesday that a provision of the Senate-passed version of the bill that would prevent police officers from questioning anyone displaying a handgun in public would put law enforcement officers at risk.
"This is going to make it very difficult (for officers) to do their jobs," King told the House.
Both King and Fletcher support the overall effort to legalize open carry. But King pointed out that the House and the Senate need to perfect language about how and when officers may question someone who is openly carrying. Fletcher said he is confident that law enforcement officers will adjust to dealing with open carry, but said additional training and experience is needed to make sure transition goes smoothly.
Earlier Wednesday, CLEAT President Todd Harrison called on lawmakers to drop the provision of the open-carry legislation that would prevent police officers from questioning anyone displaying a handgun in public.
“Before this measure reaches Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, lawmakers need to put public safety over politics and allow Texas peace officers to make the decision on whether someone carrying a firearm should be questioned,” said Todd Harrison, a 30-year police veteran. “Let’s trust the judgment of Texas’ law enforcement professionals.
"While other organizations were tuning up their barbecue grills over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, CLEAT’s public affairs team was working to make sure any open-carry law not only safeguards the Second Amendment rights of Texans, but also does nothing to endanger the public or the police,” Harrison added.
On Friday when the open-carry bill was being debated in the Senate, CLEAT mobilized to squelch false claims that it supported the amendment to handcuff law enforcement's ability to ask questions whenever individual officers deemed necessary.
Several other law enforcement organizations climbed aboard the bandwagon Wednesday by participating in a news conference calling for the provision to be stripped out of the bill.