Newly elected Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Republican Dennis Bonnen, campaigned as a pro-Second Amendment candidate. However, actions speak far louder than words and we now see he lied. For the first time in decades, a Speaker has appointed anti-gun Democrats to chair the two most important House Committees for Texas gun owners. Speaker Bonnen appointed D-rated, anti-gun Democrat Poncho Nevarez as Chair of the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee and F-rated, anti-gun Democrat Nicole Collier to Chair the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. These are the two committees that hear all gun and self-defense related bills. Committee chairmen have the sole authority to decide whether a bill in their committee will get a hearing or a vote. The net result will be every anti-gun bill filed in the House will get a committee hearing. Pro-gun bills either will not get a hearing or won't get a committee vote in time to reach the House floor for debate and voting. Don’t be fooled. A bill can be killed by not giving it a committee vote, or by voting it out of committee too late in the session for it to reach the floor. This presumes it isn’t killed in the House Calendars Committee. (See below.)
Here is a quick breakdown of these two critical committees. The Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee has nine members, including five Republicans and four Democrats. The Republicans are all “A” rated by NRA and TSRA, but the Democrats boast three who are “F” rated and one, the Chairman, earned a “D” rating.
The Criminal Jurisprudence Committee also has nine members. Five are “A” or “A+” rated Republicans and four are Democrats. The four Democrats include the “F” rated Chairman Nicole Collier, “D” rated anti-gun Joe Moody and two who have a “??” rating because they wouldn’t answer the NRA/TSRA Questionnaire. (A “?” rating is actually an “F” in hiding.)
In addition to the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee and the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, there is another critical committee to consider. The House Calendars Committee can and does kill bills behind the scenes. Once again, Speaker Bonnen betrayed gun owners by giving us a very slim one-vote margin in Calendars. However, the Calendars Committee is unique because any one member can “tag” a bill. In simple terms, it means a bill can be killed by being “tagged.” D-raged, anti-gun Democrat Joe Moody was appointed by Speaker Bonnen to service as Vice-Chairman of the Calendars Committee.
Any schedule conflict or illness could easily erase the one-vote pro-gun margins in these committees resulting in anti-gun bills passing out of these committees and the killing of pro-gun bills. Speaker Bonnen’s betrayal of gun owners is monumental and Texas gun owners will not forget him or those who voted him in as Speaker.
I almost forgot. To make matters worse, Speaker Bonnen elevated D-ranged, anti-gun Joe Moody to Speaker Protempore.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Nothing is going to change this session, but every Texas gun owner must make his or her voice heard. Call and email Governor Abbott and let him know your feelings about Bonnen’s betrayal. Call your Representative and let him or her know how you feel and that you are not happy that he/she voted for Bonnen as Speaker. Again, they can’t change anything this session, but gun owners must start working now to ensure that Dennis Bonnen never again holds the Speaker’s gavel.
There must be a huge groundswell against Speaker Bonnen’s betrayal of gun owners. Call your gun-owning friends and ask them to get involved also. Post this notice on your Facebook page and other social media platforms that you use. The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make the political price of betrayal so high that no elected official can afford it.
I have been a Second Amendment activist for thirty-nine years. Through good times and bad, politically and legislatively speaking, I’ve never seen this level of betrayal. Don’t let Speaker Bonnen turn Texas into California or New Jersey. Get involved now; send those emails and make those calls. Sign up for Texas Firearms Coalition emails and be ready to respond to Calls-To-Action when they are issued concerning specific bills.