Constitutional Carry Passes Texas House

On April 15 at 5:46 pm, Constitutional Carry passed the Texas House of Representatives. After nearly eight hours of debate, HB 1927 by Matt Schafer passed in a record vote of 84 to 56. The vote was mostly along party lines, though some Democrats voted in favor. The bill has yet to pass in the Senate.

HB 1927 creates what is known as “Constitutional carry” or “permitless carry” by allowing gun owners over the age of 21, who are not otherwise prohibited, to carry the weapons they are already legally allowed to own. Constitutional carry is based on the part of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution stating that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Opponents of the bill claim that it is far too extreme and that it would cause more shootings by allowing potentially unstable individuals to carry firearms.

House members proposed and discussed 21 amendments on the bill, with proponents attempting to perfect the bill while opponents tried to weaken it. Democrats in the House raised over a dozen points of order on these amendments in a coordinated attempt to delay the passage of the bill. A point of order is a claim that someone has broken a rule of the House, and it requires house business to pause so the matter can be investigated.

What Does It Mean to be Conservative in College?

Being conservative on campus means being willing to stand up for oneself, and stand up against our generation’s political leftism.

Today, young conservatives face the most difficult challenges they have ever faced. College campuses have become ever more leftist, to the point where conservatives have become the minority on nearly every campus. Conservatives face the difficult choice of remaining silent, and letting the left monopolize political discourse, or standing up and facing the consequences of rejecting the prevailing beliefs of their generation. What type of consequences? Perhaps just harassment and limited job prospects if you are lucky, arson and assault if you are not. The fact that most professors are left of center means it is not merely leftist students that a conservative must deal with, but also professors and the university itself. University after university has caved to the demands of those espousing social justice, often to the point of absurdity.

The left have clear goals with regard to what they stand for and what they want to change, but those goals are often unattainable. Arguing that systemic racism must be eradicated, supposes that there is systemic racism in America, and that we can somehow end it with enough protests and government intervention. Conservatives, on the other hand, reject these calls for radical change and defend the freedoms and institutions that have made America the greatest nation in the world.    

Being conservative means supporting the Constitution, a document that protects our rights and liberties. The First Amendment-protected right to freedom of speech is under attack from not only the left, but many in the center as well. This right is the first to go when freedom begins to wane in nations throughout history, and must be protected at all costs. The cancel-culture mob thinks they have a right to ruin someone’s life for speaking against the mob. The idea that you are justified in unleashing a vicious assault on someone’s livelihood for disagreeing with what they say is troublesome, as it discourages the free exchange of opinions. In Silicon Valley, big tech now uses partisan censorship to control who can be heard, and what they can say, while still being protected as platforms. This again stifles free speech, as huge companies with monopoly like control now become the arbiters of truth and opinion. 

Another right that could arguably be called even more important than the First Amendment, is the Second. The right to keep and bear arms serves as a guarantor of all the other rights. Arms allow every American to not only protect themselves, but protect the rights of others from any threat. Whether that threat is a criminal in your home, a shooter at your school, or ATF agents sieging your farm. These rights are protected by the institutions of America, which represent another important aspect of conservatism.

Being conservative means supporting the institutions of America, but rejecting the abuse of them. The police, military, and our government serve important roles in protecting the rights enshrined in our constitution, but that does not mean they are exempt from oversight. Recently, however, fueled by anarchists that have hated all authority for decades, the police have been under unceasing attack from those who want to see them defunded. This anti-police movement has grown rapidly in the last several months, and represents an assault not only on the police, but the rule of law in America. As seen in Portland and Seattle, when the police are not allowed to enforce the laws of our nation, anarchy and violence ensues. This does not mean some police do not abuse their power, for we have seen it several times in recent memory, but to use that as reason to abolish the police as an entity is absurd. 

Our military has protected our rights against foreign threats time and time again, which is why every veteran deserves our respect and admiration. Yet, our military can be abused as well, by being used in needless foreign conflicts. Our wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam represent conflicts unwinnable with the resources we were willing to use, and led to thousands of American deaths. Our military is best used as a strong deterrent to our enemies, instead of being used to trying to mold nations into what we want. Politicians in Washington, unelected state department officials, and generals have often led us into these conflicts that drain our tax dollars and cost our soldiers’ lives. 

The Federal Government receives the most criticism of these institutions, and rightly so, for it is the most abused. Government bureaucracies invade our lives, whether it is through the NSA illegally collecting our information, or the IRS targeting individuals for their political beliefs. Yet despite these abuses, the system of government we have in place is still constrained by our constitution and the ballot box. As a democracy, we not only have the power but the duty to vote those out who try to abuse their powers.    

A Conservative on a college campus has other duties as well. They must work to get real conservatives elected, and work to vote out those who betray their campaign promises or use their position to enrich themselves. They must be debating and searching for the conservative answers to our nation’s problems. They must stand up and stop the left from getting what they want, for ground lost is not easily retaken. Campuses are the battleground for our nation’s political future, and while we may be down and outnumbered, we are not out of it yet. Being conservative on campus means being willing to stand up for oneself, and stand up against our generation’s political leftism. 

Cover photo taken by Rebekah Wendt.

The Darsch Report: Sept. 2 – 8

San Antonio’s Hoarding Task Force

In San Antonio, all four fire deaths this year have involved hoarding, something that the San Antonio Fire Department plans to tackle. During a recent budget meeting with the city council members, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood announced that the SAFD is working with other city departments to form a Hoarding Task Force that will help identify people in hoarding situations.

“We had a 49-year-old man die in a hoarder home,” Hood said. “It should have never happened.”

Hood would further explain to the council that because of the hoarding, it not only made it difficult for those inside the building to escape, but it also made it difficult for firefighters to enter.

“It makes it impossible for us to get in because the fuel load is so heavy,” Hood said. “Usually by the time we get there it is in a situation or in a state where no one would survive that fire.”

Hood said he hopes to have the task force up and running by 2020. The chief said that he wants to ensure that help and resources are available to people who are in dangerous hoarding circumstances.

“We all know someone like this,” Hood said. “So how can we identify them, and how can we help them put order in their living environment and ensure a safer house for them?”

Gov Abbott vs. Gun Violence

Despite efforts by many conservatives in the state legislature to stop talk of increased gun control, Governor Greg Abbott announced on Twitter on Wednesday, Sept. 4 that he would be taking executive action on the issue. The next day, Gov Abbott released a list of eight executive actions being taken to prevent gun violence with most having to do with reporting suspicious behavior.

Democratic legislators have also been putting out their proposals, holding press conferences on the issue and even demanding a special legislative session on gun control. The most high-profile of these Democrat proposals are so-called “red-flag” laws, in which guns could be confiscated without due process from those suspected to have mental health issues.

Second Amendment groups have already indicated that they are willing to put a fight if need be.

“Any solution that aims to take away more guns from more people is counterproductive. Gun-control laws don’t reduce crime. They don’t keep criminals from committing evil, despicable acts. And they certainly haven’t kept us safe,” Rachel Malone, the Texas director of Gun Owners of America said during a recent press conference.

With conservatives and gun owners beginning to line up against Abbott and Democrats on gun control, the governor and Texas legislatures should work with gun owners to find a solution that makes Texan communities safer while protecting their rights.

StemExpress CEO Admits to Selling Aborted Baby Parts

On Thursday, Sept. 5 StemExpress CEO, Cate Dyer, told a San Francisco courtroom that the company brokered beating fetal hearts and intact fetal heads to medical researchers.

The admission comes during court proceedings of Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, who allegedly illegally filmed top executives and clinicians from Planned Parenthood who admitted to brokering aborted baby parts.

Daleiden and Merritt are part of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a group of citizen journalists “dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances.” 

Some staff of Planned Parenthood Northern California are already under oath testifying that they “provided fetal tissue from the abortions she did at Planned Parenthood as a regular occurrence,” according to a summary of court proceedings, “[and] when asked if she had ever heard of StemExpress, Doe 7 said she had heard of cases in which StemExpress was involved and money was exchanged.”

Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, who is representing Daleiden at the court, told Life Site News that’s StemExpress CEO’s admission is “gruesome.”

“If you have a fetus with an intact head and an intact body, and intact extremities, that is something that would indicate that child was born alive, and then had their organs cut out of them, or that that child was the victim of an illegal partial-birth abortion,” he said.

StemExpress and Planned Parenthood Northern California are currently the subject of investigations by the FBI and Department of Justice “for selling fetal organs and tissue against the law,” CMP said in a summary.

US Economy

The stock market did fairly well this week had is approaching near-record highs. The Dow Jones increased to 26,797.46 on Thursday, increasing by +435.21 points, or +1.65 percent over its August 29 close of 26,362.25. The S&P 500 increased by +52.25 points or +1.79 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq increased on Thursday by +1.76 percent.

Friday was also the release date for the August US jobs report during which the US stayed on par with Wall Street estimates.

  • Average hourly earnings increased by 0.4 percent in August and 3.2% over the year, better than expected.
  • The labor force participation rate increased to 63.2 percent, tying its highest level since August 2013.

Hong Kong’s Freedoms Are at Risk

In Hong Kong, protestors continue to march in the street against China’s efforts to increase control over the Special Administrative Region, demanding true democracy and autonomy from Beijing.

On Sunday, Sept. 8, thousands of protestors marched on the US consulate singing the Star-Spangled Banner, waving American flags and calling on President Trump to “liberate” their city.

“Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” many shouted before handing over petitions at the U.S. Consulate, “resist Beijing, liberate Hong Kong.”

Over a thousand arrests of demonstrators have been made over the past five months with an additional 2,100 injuries being reported. This coincides with reports from protestors that the Chinese and Hong Kong government are working with Chinese gangs to attack protestors as well as police pretending to be protestors during marches, accusations that the Hong Kong and Chinese governments deny.

In Hong Kong, we are also seeing censorship of the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) by the Hong Kong government. VPN provider Private Internet Access (PIA) has reported that its service has been blocked in the country

According to PIA, users in Hong Kong are either blocked from connecting to the PIA service outright or are allowed to connect but then prevented from accessing any websites.

 In support of Hong Kong, many protestors and congressmen are urging the passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would protect Hong Kong autonomy as well as “establish punitive measures against government officials in Hong Kong or mainland China who are responsible for suppressing basic freedoms in Hong Kong, especially in connection with the abduction of certain booksellers.”

To continue standing as the bastion of such values as freedom and democracy that we claim to hold, we need to be the America that the people of Hong Kong believe in.

Trump Cancels Peace Talks

On Saturday evening, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to make an announcement about developments in the war in Afghanistan.

In the series of Tweets, Trump stated that he had planned on having a secret meeting with the President of Afghanistan and major Taliban leaders while at Camp David to work on facilitating peace in the war-torn country.

  However, Trump ended talks once damning information came to light. “In order to build false leverage, [the Taliban] admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people,” Trump tweeted.

“What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn’t, they only made it worse… How many more decades are they willing to fight?” he declared.

On Sunday, after their negotiating team held an emergency internal meeting in Doha, the Taliban said Trump’s decision to cancel the talks would only have consequences for the United States.

“More than anyone else, the loss will be for the United States–their standing will be hurt, their anti-peace position will be clearer to the world, their human and treasure loss will increase, and their political actions will come across as unstable,” the Taliban said. “Twenty years ago, too, we had called for understanding, and this remains our position today.”

After the talks were called off, the Afghan government blamed the Taliban, saying that the violence was making the peace process difficult.

Bill Flores is Retiring

On Wednesday, Sept. 4, the Republican congressman for Texas’s 17th congressional district, Bill Flores, announced that he will be retiring at the end of his term.

Flores marks the fifth Texas Republican congressman and twelfth Republican congressman to announce retirement in 2020.

Despite being in a district that President Trump won with 56% of the vote, Flores has committed to retiring and eventually being able to spend more time with his family.

In a statement, Flores said that he plans to return to the private sector, where he had previously worked as an oil and gas executive. He also said that he would focus on a number of issues in his remaining time in Congress, including securing the border, removing “the uncertainty related to the ‘Dreamers,’ helping pass the United States, Mexico, and Canada Agreement and paving the way for “the accelerated deployment of 5G technologies.”

In an election cycle where Democrats plan to expand their House majority and perhaps even take the Senate, Republicans will need to step up efforts to get conservatives, Trump voters and independents out to vote.

Is There a Gun Show Loophole?

Firearms are one of the United States’s most heated political topics. Gun control opponents tend to argue that gun control takes away the right to protect oneself, while gun control advocates argue that more gun control will better protect the public from danger. More restrictions on firearms or banning all firearms are the two main goals of gun control advocates. Gun control advocates tend to mention the “gun show loophole.” The gun show loophole is the alleged practice of firearm vendors selling firearms without meeting any federal background check requirements, which makes it easier for unqualified buyers to get weapons.

Recently, I went to my first gun show ever. Each third weekend of the month, the Austin Highway Event Center hosts a gun show called, “Kim’s Gun Show”. I saw the event on Facebook, and decided to go. I wanted to take this opportunity to see if this “gun show loophole” really exists, and if so, to what extent it does exist.

Once I entered the venue, I was amazed. There were over 200 tables of guns, knives, ammunition, antiques, T-shirts, jewellery and more. I did not really know where to begin. I started walking around until I found a table with handguns. I asked questions to the vendor and displayed my interest in buying one. The vendor notified me that I had to be 21 in order for him to be able to sell one to me. Of course, I was not really serious about purchasing a gun that day. I just wanted to see if vendors heeded to the federal background check and the state law that says one must be 21 or over in order to purchase a handgun. Next, I went over to a table full of pocket knives and Bowie knives. I wanted to buy a cheap folding knife just to use as a utility. Once I spotted one I wanted, I picked it up and notified the vendor. I handed him 5 dollars, and he said “enjoy your knife”.

When people think of the “gun show loophole,” knives do not usually come to mind. People tend to think of mass shooters or murderers getting away with buying assault rifles or automatic weapons at these shows. Knives are not really in the picture, initially. However, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Expanded Homicide Data Table for 2017, more homicides are committed with knives than both rifles and shotguns combined. To be specific, 403 homicides were committed with rifles, 264 with shotguns, and 1,591 were committed with knives. These are big numbers, but nowhere near the amount of handgun homicides. Handguns accounted for 7,032 homicides. Handguns are more controlled, however. In Texas, where 18-year-olds can buy rifles, one must be 21 or over to purchase a handgun. This partially disproves the existence of a “gun show loophole.”

Even though some vendors might be more lenient than others, this does not fully prove that there is an absolute “gun show loophole”. If someone gets away with purchasing a firearms without going through federal background check or identification, that is the fault of the firearm vendor. The firearm vendor is the one breaking the law by selling one a firearm without performing the federal background check. Secondly, I did not see any automatic weapons or illegal knives being sold at this gun show. The fault is fully on the intentions of the individual vendor. We should not ban gun shows because of an individual seller’s sketchy dealings.

The Darsch Report: Jan. 21 – 27

Non-Citizens Voting in Texas Elections

On Jan. 25, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley announced that there are about 95,000 non-citizens in Texas who are registered to vote and that 58,000 have voted in one or more elections since 1996.

This is the result of an 11-month investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety in which investigators cross-referenced those registered to vote with those who have applied for a driver’s license or state identification card in the last five years with a green card or visa. The information was then sent to the state attorney general’s office which will decide whether or not to pursue voter fraud charges. The attorney general’s office has prosecuted only 130 cases of voter fraud since 2005.

“Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice,” Attorney General Ken Paxton stated. “Nothing is more vital to preserving our Constitution than the integrity of our voting process, and my office will do everything within its abilities to solidify trust in every election in the state of Texas.”

Depending on where these votes were cast since 1996, they could have easily swung any number of statewide and even national elections. Democrats have ignored illegal voting for decades now, insisting that no credible data indicates a problem. In the face of these official numbers, we hope they will start caring about the voting process more than their own reputations.

The Shutdown is Over

On Jan. 25, the United States government has finally been reopened after a shutdown that lasted a record 35 days, costing an estimated $6 billion. The temporary reopening will last 3 weeks ending on Feb 15 during which Republicans, Democrats, and President Donald Trump will attempt to seek a compromise on permanent federal funding.

“I am very proud to announce we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said, adding that he will continue to seek $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. He insisted that if he and Democratic leadership can not reach a compromise then he will declare a national emergency to build the wall.

“Walls should not be controversial,” he said. “As commander-in-chief, my highest priority is the defense of our great country… We cannot surrender operational control over our nation’s borders to foreign cartels, traffickers and smugglers.”

Democrats are calling the reopening a victory. “Our unity is our power — and that is maybe what the President underestimated,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

Many are glad to see at least a temporary end to the shutdown with all 800,000 furloughed employees receiving back pay for the past 35 days. However, this is only the beginning of Trump’s efforts to fund the wall, and unless Democrats are willing to negotiate with Trump it is doubtful a real compromise will be met before another shutdown.

Whataburger Delivers a Helping Hand

Speaking of the shutdown, San Antonio-based fast-food giant Whataburger was the latest company to offer free food to any and all federal employees that were furloughed during the 35-day government shutdown. On Saturday, Jan. 26, from 6 to 11 am they offered food to any federal employee who went unpaid during the shutdown.

The notice said that anyone who showed a valid federal government-issued ID would be eligible for the offer of a free coffee and breakfast burrito. The deal was at any participating location but will not extend to drive-thru and mobile orders.

Whataburger’s communications office said the brand will honor the offer until further notice. In the face of a government shutdown it is great to see private entities step in and help where the government has failed.

US Economy

It wasn’t a good week for US stocks, with very few gains in the stock market. The Dow Jones decreased to 24,737.20 on Friday, decreasing by -153.11 points, or -0.62 percent under its Jan 18 close of 24,706.35. The S&P 500 decreased by -28.38 points or -1.06 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq had a decreased on Friday by -1.17 percent.

This comes on news from Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross that the US and China are still “miles and miles” away from coming to terms on a trade deal. The stock market was acting relatively positive on news that China has offered to buy over $1 trillion worth of US goods to eliminate the trade deficit, but optimism tanked after Ross’s comments.

Venezuela in Crisis

On Jan. 23, President of the National Assembly of Venezuela Juan Guaido swore himself in as ‘interim president’. The United States, Canada, Brazil, UK, Argentina, Costa Rica, and many other regional allies have backed Guaido’s move, while the countries of Mexico, Cuba, Russia, Turkey, China, and Iran have decided to support Nicolás Maduro’s claim to the presidency.

“As president of the National Assembly, before God and Venezuela, I swear to formally assume the competencies of the national executive as interim president of Venezuela,” Guaidó declared before an opposition rally in eastern Caracas.

President Trump immediately recognized his claim. “I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy,” Trump said.

The US and regional allies were quick to issue their statements due to suspicions that the 2017 Venezuelan presidential election was rigged in favor of the incumbent president Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuelan authorities denounced what they have termed a “coup attempt” led by the United States. “This coup attempt that is being unleashed in the country is the most unwise effort by imperialism and its lackeys in the Venezuelan opposition,” Maduro said to supporters. Maduro has also given all US diplomatic personnel 72 hours to leave the country.

The situation in Venezuela is a unique chance to see if one of the old socialist regimes in the Americas will finally fall and how powerful the US is with her regional allies against the two other superpowers involved, China and Russia. As it currently stands, Maduro’s regime does not look like it has much longer to live in this world bringing an end to another oppressive socialist regime and giving hope to the people of Venezuela.

Gun Owners vs New York City

On Jan. 22, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear its first 2nd Amendment case in a decade, concerning a strict New York City ordinance that bars a legal owner of a handgun from taking it to a shooting range outside the city.

The city says it allows gun owners to seek hard-to-obtain permits to legally carry a handgun if they have good cause. They may also obtain a “premises” permit to keep a handgun at home, allowing them to carry an unloaded handgun to a shooting range inside the city but not to a shooting range outside the city.

Justices will consider the case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Assn. vs. New York, in the fall. If they take the case, then a final ruling is not expected until early 2020.

Their lawyer, former US Solicitor General Paul Clement, urged them to take the issue to a higher court after losing in the US 2nd Court of Appeals. Clement called the “city’s transport ban an extreme, unjustified and irrational restriction on 2nd Amendment rights. … There is absolutely no evidence that transporting an unloaded firearm, locked in a container separate from its ammunition, presents a material public safety risk.”

The New York City ordinance is an extreme and needless burden on the gun owners of New York and the Supreme Court should reaffirm the 2nd Amendment rights of New York citizens and rule this law unconstitutional.

Five Things to Watch in the Texas Legislature this Session

From rabbit meat to nuisance chickens to guns at the school board, the 86th Texas legislature has already begun tackling the problems that plague our state with over a thousand newly filed bills—and it’s only been a week. Here are five issues in session which Texas conservatives should keep on their radar.

1. Taxes

For years, Texas conservatives have put property tax reform at the top of their legislative to-do list. Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen have especially come out against the state’s notoriously high property taxes, which rank 14th in the country. Texas has no statewide property tax; currently, property taxes are gathered locally, outside the control of statewide voters. Lifelong homeowners, such as elderly homeowners on fixed incomes, commonly lose their homes to tax foreclosures. Last Wednesday a senate resolution created the new Senate Committee on Property Tax to address the growing problem. Supporters hope that the new committee will take tangible steps to make property tax reform more than a conservative daydream.

State Representative Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) also introduced a bill which would authorize local governments to replace property taxes with a “supplemental sales and use tax,” which cities would impose after eliminating the property tax to make up for any lost revenue. The bill aims to provide tax relief and help homeowners guard their equity by shifting local government costs to sales taxes. While it would necessarily result in a slight sales tax increase, Krause’s bill would mean people pay more for things they choose and less for their own homes.

2. Healthcare

State Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) filed a bill to allow counties to create healthcare provider participation programs in counties not served by a hospital district or public hospital. While aimed at increasing access in rural areas, the bill would avoid new taxes by collecting funds from hospitals in the same area, thus draining already needy communities of existing resources and burdening hospitals where they are most scarce.

Many conservatives in Texas look to the deregulation of nursing as a way of expanding healthcare access. A house bill filed last session by State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) and endorsed by some members of the Texas Freedom Caucus proposed deregulating the use of nurse practitioners who are subjected to hefty contract fees and other restrictions that drive up clinic prices. Past sessions saw similar attempts to unlock nurses from costly restrictions, an idea currently supported by the Coalition for Healthcare Access, a group which includes the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation as well as AARP and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. Authorizing advance practice registered nurses (APRNs) to practice with full authority would allow patients more options and would lower clinic costs for the rural and low-economic areas in which healthcare is especially expensive and scarce.

3. Marijuana

Several lawmakers in this session have proposed making marijuana legal in different capacities. Two bills, SB 90 and HB 209, would legalize marijuana for medicinal use. One joint senate resolution proposed an amendment to the constitution which would legalize cannabis entirely. Both ideas, medical legalization and entire legalization, include heavy regulation and taxation of cannabis. Introducing a new market ripe for taxation makes the cannabis issue more cut-and-dry for Democrats than for Republicans. Legalizing marijuana theoretically can cut down on our nonviolent prisoners and deal a blow to cartels. Criminals convicted of possession can potentially serve years-long sentences for a victimless crime. Others argue that simple decriminalization, rather than legalization, can solve the prison problem while still keeping a dangerous substance out of as many hands as possible. Even others point out that criminals serving long sentences for possession typically have pleaded down from not-so-victimless crimes, and that the criminalization of marijuana gives prosecutors a common bargaining chip. In the end, the marijuana issue strikes a fine divide between liberty and order, and conservatives in the Texas legislature will be forced to choose between these two pillars of their principles.

4. Abortion

State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) filed a bill which would amend the occupation code to prohibit doctors from conducting abortions not intended to save the life of the mother, remove an ectopic pregnancy, or ensure that at least one child of many unborn children is born healthy. If passed, Swanson’s bill would mean a major victory for pro-life advocates in Texas. Pro-life legislators are seeking to capitalize on two laws passed in the Texas legislature in 2017, one which protected doctors from suits in the case of babies born with birth defects and another which would require doctors to make sure an unborn child is dead before conducting dismemberment abortions.

5. Guns

One proposed senate bill would ensure that firearms confiscated from the mentally ill should be returned within thirty days if the owner may otherwise lawfully possess firearms. Especially now when the definition of mental illness continues to expand, the bill may act as a preemptive defense against growingly popular suggestions to prohibit the mentally ill from owning weapons. While the mention of mental illness tends to conjure up dangerous conditions like schizophrenia, a mental illness prohibition would keep people with conditions as benign as depression or anxiety from protecting themselves. The silence of liberal ‘ableism’ activists on this issue is deafening, and conservatives should continue support the lawful second amendment rights of all citizens.

More broadly, another bill would institute constitutional carry in Texas. Thanks to lawmakers in the last session, Texans can now carry bladed weapons without restriction; this bill, known as the Texas Constitutional Carry Act of 2019, would effect the same freedom for firearms. Firearm owners would be allowed to carry any weapon without a permit. Texas would not be the first; other states like Alaska, Vermont and New Hampshire have already beaten us to the punch, without the catastrophic results predicted by liberal pundits. In addition to being perhaps the clearest interpretation of the second amendment, constitutional carry would eliminate the costly process of permits, allowing poorer people to defend themselves more easily.

Take-aways

Citizens have a little over a hundred days of session left to keep an eye on Bonnen and their lawmakers. Since former House Speaker Joe Straus stepped down and Republicans elected Bonnen as the new speaker, conservatives have their first real chance since 1993 to act fast without top-down obstruction, and they would be wise to take it.