Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/20/2001 03:10 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    SJR 17-FEDERAL GUN POLICIES                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JOE STEWART,  staff for Senator  Donley, said  SJR 17 requests  that                                                            
President  Bush  renounce and  reverse  the  Clinton Administration                                                             
anti-gun  ownership   policies  and   reorient  the  United   States                                                            
Department  of Justice toward policies  that accurately reflect  the                                                            
intent of  the Second Amendment  granting  the individual rights  of                                                            
Americans to keep and bear arms.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The legislation  stems from a 1998 district court  case in Tom Green                                                            
County, Texas  - a divorce case in which the wife  put a restraining                                                            
order on her husband.   Because he owned a firearm,  he was found to                                                            
be in violation  of Title 18, Section 922G8 of the  U.S. Code, which                                                            
states that anyone under  a restraining order may not own a firearm.                                                            
Because this  was a federal violation,  the case was transferred  to                                                            
federal district  court where the  judge ruled Title 18 of  the U.S.                                                            
Code unconstitutional  because it violates Second  Amendment rights.                                                            
This was  appealed to  the Fifth  Circuit in New  Orleans where  the                                                            
U.S. attorney  argued  that the  Second Amendment  does not  protect                                                            
Second  Amendment  freedoms  for individuals   but gives  a  blanket                                                            
protection  to recognized  groups  such as  the National  Guard.  In                                                            
response, the National  Rifle Association (NRA) sent a letter to the                                                            
solicitor  general  asking   whether  the  attorney  had,  in  fact,                                                            
accurately represented  the position taken by the United States. The                                                            
response was, "He had indeed."  It was the opinion of the Department                                                            
of Justice  that there are no Second  Amendment freedoms  guaranteed                                                            
for individual Americans.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  THERRIAULT  introduced  the  work  draft,  CS 22-LS0443\B                                                             
Luckhaupt 3/19/01, which  melds the two "whereas paragraphs" on page                                                            
2,  lines 4-9.  He asked  whether  Senator  Donley,  sponsor of  the                                                            
resolution,  had  seen the  new language  and  the position  he  was                                                            
taking on the rewording.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. STEWART said the change is acceptable to Senator Donley.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PEARCE  moved the CS for SJR 17, B version  by Mr. Luckhaupt                                                            
3/19/01, as the working document.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  added that the  committee substitute  (CS) also                                                            
directs  a copy  to  be sent  to the  minority  leader  of the  U.S.                                                            
Congress.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The CS was adopted with no objection.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There  were  no other  amendments  offered,  no  questions,  and  no                                                            
further testimony on SJR 17.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He asked for the will of the committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 466                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  PEARCE  moved  CSSJR  17(STA)  and zero  fiscal  note  from                                                            
committee   with   individual   recommendations.   There   were   no                                                            
objections.                                                                                                                     

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