From the Office of State Senator Glenn Hegar, District 18

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2009
Contact: Lisa Craven
(512) 463-0118

Hegar Denounces United States Senate’s Vote to Deny Second Amendment Rights
State Senator Says Vote Unfairly Punishes Concealed Carry Permit Holders

Katy, Texas — Today, Texas State Senator Glenn Hegar denounced the United States Senate for its failure to protect the second amendment rights of concealed carry permit holders last week. On Wednesday, the Senate voted down an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which would have instituted a reciprocity requirement in federal law to allow concealed handgun licensees to move lawfully across state lines while in possession of their legally owned firearms. Even though the measure had the support of a majority of senators, it fell two votes short of the 60 votes needed for passage.

"I strongly condemn the vote cast by 39 United States Senators against the proposed reciprocity agreement,” Hegar said. “Concealed handgun licensees are law abiding citizens who have cleared exhaustive background checks and subjected themselves to other stringent regulations—they are certainly not criminals, in fact data clearly demonstrates that CHL holders commit crimes at a far lesser rate than do non-CHL holders,” Hegar added.

Senator Hegar said that he applauded the 58 Senators who recognize that law-abiding Americans have the right to protect themselves whether they are in their home state or visiting another. Both Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn of Texas voted in favor of the proposal.

The reciprocity amendment in the United States Senate was offered by Republican Senators John Thune of South Dakota and David Vitter of Louisiana and was carefully drafted to recognize that the disparate laws of various states should be respected, with the receiving state's law prevailing on points of disagreement. Senator Hegar said that the proposal showed further deference by not authorizing concealed carry within the only two states that do not permit such (Illinois and Wisconsin).

"The death of the Thune/Vitter amendment at the hands of the radical anti-gun lobby is truly disheartening,” Hegar said. “I am reminded that the same fate befell two of my own bills during the last two sessions of the Texas Legislature and I am disappointed that the more than five million concealed handgun licensees in the United States will continue to senselessly be denied the right to protect themselves and their families as they travel across our great nation despite the fact that all but two states allow such constitutionally prescribed self-protections. When we travel out-of-state we should not be forced to leave behind our right to self-defense," Senator Hegar said.

Senator Hegar has long been a champion of protecting Texan’s second amendment rights and in 2005 he authored legislation in the Texas House of Representatives much like the amendment just considered by the United States Senate. Unlike the federal legislation, Senator Hegar's measure successfully passed the legislature and modified Texas law to ensure that concealed handgun license holders from other states would be allowed to protect themselves while traveling in Texas (House Bill 1066, passed as an amendment to House Bill 3477). Prior to Hegar’s legislation, Texas had reciprocity agreements with just 16 states. Today, thanks to his efforts, Texas has reciprocity agreements with 40 states.

Hegar said he has continued his fight to stop the erosion of second amendment rights and in the last two legislative sessions has introduced legislation to prevent employers from prohibiting their employees from storing legal firearms in their locked vehicles while parked in their employer's parking lot. While the measure passed the Texas Senate this session, it was one of many bills killed by Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives during their efforts to stop protections against voter fraud. Senator Hegar has said that he will continue to introduce the measure in future legislative sessions until Texans have the ability to protect themselves while traveling to and from work.

Senator Hegar served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and now represents Senate District 18 in the Texas Senate. He is a sixth generation Texan, and earns a living farming rice and corn on land that has been in his family since the mid 1800's. He resides in Katy, Texas with his wife Dara, and their three children, Claire, Julia, and Jonah.