Guns Like Light Bulbs: Texan Lawmaker

Photograph by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Second Amendment supporter and gun enthusiast, Derek Ringley, displays an unloaded pistol that was being sold in an impromptu auction across the street from a gun buy back program at the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas on Jan. 19, 2013 in Texas.

A Texas lawmaker wants to help the Lone Star State get around federal regulations of guns and other weapons made and used within the state.

The state’s 132 weapons manufacturers could sell to Texans without interference from federal regulation under a bill filed this week by state Rep. Matt Krause, a Fort Worth Republican. Similar bills have been filed in Missouri, Montana and Wyoming, permitting states to set their own rules while skirting existing and future federal rules, he said.

“Texans want to be able to control the debate,” said Krause, a first-term legislator and graduate of Liberty University School of Law. “We should let Texas control the gun laws within Texas.”

Constituents have emphasized that the Texas Legislature should defend the “right to bear arms” clause in the Second Amendment, rather than accept tighter controls on gun ownership, Krause said in an interview at his Capitol office. He said he opposes most of President Barack Obama’s recommendations to curb gun-related violence, including limiting the number of bullets in semiautomatic rifle magazines

“I’m a very strong proponent of law-abiding citizens being able to bear arms,” he said.

Krause compared his bill with the Texas Legislature’s approval in 2011 of a bill exempting the state from federal laws promoting more efficient light bulbs. The bill, which allows Texans to continue using incandescent light bulbs made in the state, passed by a vote of 142 to 3 and was signed in June 2011 by Gov. Rick Perry.

“A gun rights law might pass the Texas Legislature, but it would never pass constitutional muster,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “There are 70 years of federal court precedent involving interstate commerce. Any first-day, first-year law student knows that.”


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