Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Relating to the carrying of a handgun by certain first responders.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 737 would prevent certain localities from prohibiting first responders that are licensed to carry a handgun and certified by the state from carrying a handgun while on duty or storing it in their vehicle. This policy would apply to cities with 30,000 or less people and counties with 250,000 or less people who have not adopted the state collective bargaining law for police and firefighters.
The Department of Public Safety would be required to establish the voluntary certification program for first responders to complete. Governmental entities would be immune from liability for the discharge of a handgun by a first responder who is licensed to carry the handgun.
SB 737 would permit any locality to implement a policy permitting first responders that are licensed to carry a handgun and certified by the state to carry a handgun while on duty or store it in their vehicle. Licensed and certified first responders would not be able to do so unless their employer has adopted a policy authorizing it. First responders would be required to maintain liability insurance of at least $1 million if they choose to carry a handgun while on duty and the handgun is not an essential part of their job. Authorized first responders would only be able to discharge their handgun in self-defense.
Members of the public would be able to submit complaints to a locality; one or more complaints regarding a single first responder would be grounds for sanctioning their use of a handgun on duty. SB 737 would create defenses to prosecution for authorized first responders who, in the course of their duty, violated various criminal offenses relating to licensed handgun owners.
Texas Action supports SB 737 because it would advance individual liberty and limited government. If first responders employed by localities wish to exercise their right to defend themselves, including while on duty, they ought to be able to.