The “Come and Take It” bill, the softer of two measures that would prohibit using any state money to enforce new federal gun laws in the Lone Star State, was approved Tuesday by the Texas House.
Named for the Texas army’s storied reply when Mexican forces demanded surrender of a cannon at the start of the war of independence, House Bill 928 mandates that no state money can be spent to enforce federal firearms regulations that do not also exist in state law — a push-back against proposed new federal rules on firearms and ammunition.
But it would not penalize state law enforcement officers who help the feds, unlike House Bill 1078, which passed the House on Monday.
“It’s a simple bill that says that while we recognize the federal government’s right to enact firearms laws that overstep our state laws, we won’t be using any local or state tax dollars to help them,” said Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth.
“It encompasses the mentality of the flag that flew during the Texas Revolution. It tells the federal government: If you want to enforce your firearms laws, you’ll have to come do it yourself.”
Both bills have passed the House by large margins — Krause’s bill won final approval 101-31 — but face dim prospects in the Senate. Krause has not yet found a Senate sponsor for his bill, a big problem with just three weeks to go in the session.
Krause — an attorney and freshman lawmaker who passed the legislation as his first bill Tuesday — said the target of his ire, and that of many other gun rights legislators in the GOP-controlled House, is not existing federal firearms laws that follow state law.
Rather, it applies to new laws and regulations that are being mulled in Washington — prompted by recent mass shootings in Connecticut and Colorado —that critics fear could restrict ammunition sales and the types of guns and rifles that can be bought and sold.
Opponents of both bills argue that they are unconstitutional and could force a showdown with federal officials.
Krause insisted that his bill “strikes a proper constitutional balance” because it does not challenge the authority of the federal government to regulate firearms.