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Texas Tried to Pass a Law So Cops Could Arrest People Who Have Guns in Secure Airport Areas. It Was Shot Down.


It’s not news that Texans love their guns. It appears, however, that some Texans are willing to prioritize gun ownership over emergency response time. Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) vetoed a bill that would have given local law enforcement the same powers as federal law enforcement in the event of an emergency.

Under federal law, it’s already illegal for most people to bring a weapon onto secure parts of an airport tarmac. The problem is that, at smaller commercial airports, it can take a while for federal agents to get on the scene when their intervention is needed. Texas lawmakers had a safety-motivated solution for the predictable problem; it passed HB 1168, 140-8 in the House, and 25-6 in the Senate, giving local law enforcement agents the same jurisdiction as federal agents (at the airport) to neutralize threats quicker.

State Rep. Rafael Anchía (D), who sponsored the bill, explained the legislature’s reasoning:

When you’re talking about a security threat on a tarmac, with a passenger aircraft and fuel and everything like that, every second counts.

Gov. Abbott, however, was unconvinced by either the bill’s widespread support or its pragmatic motivations. Abbott vetoed the bill, declaring it an “unacceptable restraint on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding travelers.”

“By vetoing this bill, I am ensuring that Texans can travel without leaving their firearms at home. I look forward to working with the next Legislature on the good idea behind this bill,” Abbott said.

[Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images]

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Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos