State Senator Leticia Van De Putte, District 26

News Release
June 19, 2001

Response to Senate Bill 1713 Veto

The Governor's veto proclamation states that Senate Bill 1713, which extends the rights of Texas peace officers to posses their weapons at any time and in any place in Texas to peace officers from other states, "without consideration of reciprocity with other states." I believe that concentrating on the issue of reciprocity gets away from the real issues addressed in this bill. Senate Bill 1713 was intended to accomplish two goals. First this bill served to clarify the fact that Texas peace officers had the legal right under existing law to posses their weapons in any establishment, public or private, at any time. Recently, this clarification has become necessary due to an increasing number of incidences concerning establishments refusing to admit peace officers in possession of their firearms. Second, Senate Bill 1713 was intended to extend the weapon carrying rights of Texas peace officers to out of state peace officers.

As to Governor Perry's concern that the bill did not include a reciprocity clause, one was not included at the urging of the Texas law enforcement community who fully supported the bill. Law enforcement officials chose instead to rely on trust -- trust that officers from other states who carry here in Texas will abide by Texas law, as Texas peace officers who carry in other states abide by those states' laws. The reality of being a peace officer is that the job is 24/7, without end. I and others who understand this important distinction felt that it would benefit both visiting peace officers, and the State of Texas to extend this privilege to the respected and well-trained members of our neighboring law enforcement communities.

Jim Jones of the San Antonio Police Officers' Association stated, "this bill that [Senator Van de Putte] authored was a very good bill which clarified the current statute pertaining to the carrying of weapons by peace officers and special investigators...This is a very good bill, Senator, and it addresses an issue that is of great concern to law enforcement officers throughout the state of Texas.