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Though we agree with the goal of this bill, as written it contains provisions that infringe upon our principles. First, many departments across the state already allow for their volunteers or employees to carry a concealed weapon if they posses a license to carry (LTC). Under the provisions of this bill, those individuals that are currently allowed to carry, would be required to stop carrying until they complete the mandated training course after which they could resume carrying a firearm. That mandate violates our principles of individual liberty and limited government. Secondly, because of the vast spectrum of departments in Texas, ranging from departments that have just a few volunteers to full-time large metropolitan departments with thousands of first responders, a one-size-fits-all training course does not allow for each department to determine the appropriate training requirements. For some, these requirements need not exceed the training one needs to obtain an LTC, for others they are more complex. This training mandate and requirements infringes upon our principle of personal responsibility.
If these provisions were to be addressed and the legislation made clear that each department that utilizes first responders may not prohibit someone from carrying but may establish their own reasonable training requirements, we would support the bill. Absent those changes however and as the bill currently stands, we oppose SB 1408.