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  • Tyler County declared 2A sanctuary

    Blacksher Resolution 041321COURTESY PHOTO Tyler County Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher holds a copy of the Second Amendment-supporting resolution he introduced before Commissioners Court on Monday.

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – Before tackling its regular slate of agenda items for consideration, approval or informational purposes, the Tyler County Commissioners Court approved several resolutions. One of those resolutions, brought to the court by Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher, declares the county to support the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    Blacksher said he was encouraged by an official from Montgomery County who drafted the resolution. He said it is likely Texas will become a 2A Sanctuary state.

    Blacksher said he worked on the resolution with the support of District Attorney Lucas Babin and Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. After approving, Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock made it clear that he supports all amendments to the Constitution, to which Blacksher replied with his reasoning for bringing the resolution to the court – that the Second Amendment is frequently under attack.

    “The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states very clearly ‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,’” Blacksher said. “I want to assure the citizens of Tyler County where we stand on defending their right to bear arms.”

    A Second Amendment sanctuary, or gun sanctuary, is a state, county or municipality that has adopted ordinances or resolutions opposing the enforcement of various gun control measures. Recently, the City of Chester adopted an ordinance naming it a Second Amendment sanctuary city (see story on page 2A.) At the state level, a new bill in the House (HB 1911) which was authored by Rep. James White (R-Hillister) would allow Texans to carry a firearm without a permit and has gathered support from lawmakers.

    White issued a statement on the bill Tuesday, which featured testimony from several License to Carry instructors in support of the bill.

    Opponents of the bill, according to White, claim that it would dismantle the state’s LTC law. “Experience shows that residents will continue to voluntarily seek out training and licenses in permitless carry states, recognizing the benefits of instruction as well as acquiring and maintaining a license,” White said.

    In other business, on Monday, the commissioners approved a proclamation to recognize the month of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    Also, a pair of resolutions were approved by commissioners to submit a Texas Community Development Block Grant program application, and to authorize Judge Jacques Blanchette to serve as the county’s executive officer in submitting the CDBG grant application.

  • White bills address firearms, ballots, and cannabis

    Jas WhiteFILE PHOTO State Representative James White (R-Hillister)

    By Chris Edwards

    AUSTIN – It has been a week of legislative triumphs for State Rep. James White (R-Hillister.) A bill that White had a hand in writing pertaining to Constitutional Carry of firearms passed out of the House of Representatives. Another White bill, which would require electronic voting machines to produce a traceable paper ballot also passed to go to the Committee on Calendars.

    White’s House Bill 1927, if passed into law, will allow Texans to carry handguns without requiring a license to carry. That bill gained initial approval from the House on Thursday with a vote of 84-56, with most of the House GOP voting in favor and seven Democrats voting for it.

    White issued a joint statement with the bill’s co-author Rep. Matt Schaefer on HB 1927, which featured comments from several LTC instructors in support of the bill. According to White’s statement, opponents of the bill “are pushing a false narrative that these bills would ‘dismantle’ Texas’ License to Carry law,” which White says is untrue.

    “Experience shows that residents will continue to voluntarily seek out training and licenses in permitless carry states, recognizing the benefits of instruction as well as acquiring and maintaining a license,” White said.

    The bill will allow Texas residents, aged 21 and up, to carry without a permit as long as they are not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm.

    HB 1708, which is the bill White penned pertaining to electronic voting machines, passed out of a House Committee on Elections with a vote of 8-1 on Wednesday. If the bill is passed into law, starting on Sept. 1 of this year, electronic voting machines that do not produce a paper ballot record cannot be purchased in Texas.

    Another bill that White had a hand in writing would reduce the penalties for the possession of cannabis. HB 3772 is scheduled for a hearing on Monday, April 19 before the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

    The bill would reduce criminal penalties for low-level possession of cannabis flower and THC concentrates. It would classify the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana as a Class C misdemeanor and allow for the expunction of a paraphernalia charge if it is dismissed.