The Text of H.B. No. 44

[A Trigger Lock bill--It is now the law]

By Edwards, Greenberg, Jones of Dallas, et al.

AN ACT relating to the creation of an offense to limit access by children to certain firearms and to firearms safety education for school children.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1. Chapter 46, Penal Code, is amended by adding Section 46.13 to read as follows:

Sec. 46.13. MAKING A FIREARM ACCESSIBLE TO A CHILD.

(a) In this section:

(1) "Child" means a person younger than 17 years of age.

(2) "Readily dischargeable firearm" means a firearm that is loaded with ammunition, whether or not a round is in the chamber.

(3) "Secure" means to take steps that a reasonable person would take to prevent the access to a readily dischargeable firearm by a child, including but not limited to placing a firearm in a locked container or temporarily rendering the firearm inoperable by a trigger lock or other means.

(b) A person commits an offense if a child gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm and the person with criminal negligence:

(1) failed to secure the firearm; or

(2) left the firearm in a place to which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access. [This means you can no longer give your child his/her own rifle in the State of Texas.]

(c) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the child's access to the firearm:

(1) was supervised by a person older than 18 years of age and was for hunting, sporting, or other lawful purposes;

(2) consisted of lawful defense by the child of people or property;

(3) was gained by entering property in violation of this code; or

(4) occurred during a time when the actor was engaged in an agricultural enterprise.

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor. [When introduced, it was a felony; you can thank Peaceable Texans for the fact that it was reduced to a misdemeanor.]

(e) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor if the child discharges the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury to himself or another person.

(f) A peace officer or other person may not arrest the actor before the seventh day after the date on which the offense is committed if:

(1) the actor is a member of the family, as defined by Section 71.01, Family Code, of the child who discharged the firearm; and

(2) the child in discharging the firearm caused the death of or serious injury to the child.

(g) A dealer of firearms shall post in a conspicuous position on the premises where the dealer conducts business a sign that contains the following warning in block letters not less than one inch in height: "IT IS UNLAWFUL TO STORE, TRANSPORT, OR ABANDON AN UNSECURED FIREARM IN A PLACE WHERE CHILDREN ARE LIKELY TO BE AND CAN OBTAIN ACCESS TO THE FIREARM."

SECTION 2. Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, is amended by adding Section 13B to read as follows:

Sec. 13B. COMMUNITY SUPERVISION FOR MAKING A FIREARM ACCESSIBLE TO A CHILD.

(a) A court granting community supervision to a defendant convicted of an offense under Section 46.13, Penal Code, may require as a condition of community supervision that the defendant:

(1) provide an appropriate public service activity designated by the court; or

(2) attend a firearms safety course which meets or exceeds the requirements set by the National Rifle Association as of January 1, 1995, for a firearms safety course that requires not more than 17 hours of instruction.

(b) The court shall require the defendant to pay the cost of attending the firearms safety course under Subsection (a)(2).

SECTION 3. Subchapter D, Chapter 21, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 21.118 to read as follows:

Sec. 21.118. FIREARMS SAFETY PROGRAM.

(a) A school district may, and is strongly encouraged to, provide or participate in a firearms safety program for students in grades kindergarten through 12. A school district that provides a firearms safety program shall consult with a certified firearms instructor before establishing the curriculum for the program.

(b) A school district may not require a student to participate in a firearms safety program if the district receives written notice from a parent of the student to exempt the student from the program. A school district that provides or participates in a firearms safety program may not permit a student participating in the program, while the student is on district property, to handle a readily dischargeable firearm.

(c) The firearms safety program will meet the standards of the National Rifle Association Eddie Eagle Children's Gun Safety Course.

SECTION 4. This Act takes effect September 1, 1995.

SECTION 5. The importance of this legislation and the crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an emergency and an imperative public necessity that the constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.

/s/_______________________________ President of the Senate

/s/_______________________________ Speaker of the House

I certify that H.B. No. 44 was passed by the House on March 30, 1995, by a nonrecord vote.

/s/_______________________________ Chief Clerk of the House

I certify that H.B. No. 44 was passed by the Senate on May 3, 1995, by a vivavoce vote.

/s/_______________________________ Secretary of the Senate

APPROVED: _____________________ Date /s/_____________________ Governor

Committee Actions:

BILL NUMBER: HB 44

AUTHOR: Edwards/ Greenberg/ Jones, Jesse

SPONSOR: Patterson, Jerry

COAUTHORS: Danburg/ Naishtat/ Davila

COSPONSORS: West, Royce

LAST ACTION: 05/15/95 E Effective on 9/1/95

HOUSE COMM: Public Safety

VOTES: AYES = 7 NAYS = 0 PRESENT NOT VOTING = 0 ABSENT = 2

SENATE COMM: Criminal Justice

VOTES: AYES = 5 NAYS = 0 PRESENT NOT VOTING = 0 ABSENT = 2