Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez stands a better chance of winning the upcoming season of American Idol than seeing any of his gun control bills actually be signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, but that’s not stopping the Democrat from introducing a number of doomed gun control bills in Austin. On Tuesday the senator announced the introduction of a package of bills that he says is the most “comprehensive gun safety legislation” in state history, including banning the sale of firearms to young adults and establishing a government-run database for “bulk” sales of ammunition.
“Senate Bill 145 is the bill that amends the Texas Penal Code to outlaw the sale of any firearms, including long guns, to any person under 21 years of age, raising the age from 18 years old,” he said, noting that 18 other states have similar age limits.
Senate Bill 912 seeks to expand safe storage requirements for gun owners, requiring all firearms to be properly secured and increasing the penalty.
Senate Bill 914 would require ID for the purchase of ammunition, and make it a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly sell ammo to someone under the age of 18.
“These are things that should be codified in law. These are simple things and simple solutions that make it safer for all Texans,” Gutierrez said.
Of the 18 states that set minimum age requirements on the purchase of firearms, just seven of them completely prohibit the sale of firearms to under-21s, and Gutierrez fails to mention or acknowledge that the federal courts have cast a critical eye on those age limits, including in Texas, where a federal judge ruled a few months ago that the state’s ban on concealed carry for under-21s violates the Second Amendment.
These are not “simple things”, as Gutierrez contends. Or, if they are, they’re simply authoritarian power grabs couched in the language of “gun safety” but designed to treat those exercising their fundamental Second Amendment rights as criminals who need to be monitored by an anti-gun Big Brother.
He also advocated for Senate Bill 911, which would create a database for bulk ammunition purchases. The 18-year-old gunman in Uvalde had purchased over 1,600 rounds of ammunition before the attack.
“If you buy a Sudafed at the Walgreens, your information goes into a database. We should have the same requirements for ammunition,” Gutierrez said.
“We should know when a young kid goes off and buys a bunch of ammo. We should know the quantity of that ammo. We should know who this person is.
When a kid buys over 900 rounds of ammunition, and then he buys another 1,600 rounds of ammunition online, somehow the significance of that moment should ring true in somebody’s registry somewhere, someone’s database somewhere. Law enforcement should say, ‘we have to go talk to this young man, quickly.’”
One silly law being on the books isn’t evidence of a need for another. Yes, we all have to show ID and sign our names when we buy allergy medicine that contains pseudoephedrine in it; a measure imposed by the federal government as a way to prevent the manufacture of methamphetamine. And it’s true that since that provision has been put in place, the number of small, homegrown meth labs has declined across the country. What’s also true is that the drug cartels in Mexico have more than made up the difference, and meth today is stronger, cheaper, and more widely available than it was when the ID requirement for allergy meds was put into effect.
Gutierrez’s proposal for an ammunition database is just as off-base, and would come with just as many unintended consequences. What the senator defines as a “bulk purchase” of ammunition many gun owners would consider a successful trip to their local gun store. Maybe Gutierrez really does believe that someone buying 1,000 rounds of .22LR should be paid a visit by law enforcement, but I doubt he realizes just how many law-abiding Texans he’s talking about here.
Purchasing ammunition isn’t evidence of a crime either, so Gutierrez’s bill has some major Fourth Amendment issues as well as implicating the Second Amendment rights of Texans.
While Gutierrez may be generating some headlines with his anti-gun legislation, given the GOP majority in both chambers of the legislature his proposals are headed for certain defeat. Still, gun owners across the country should be paying attention to his proposals. Even if they don’t play well in Texas, that won’t stop Democrats around the country from trying to enact similar infringements wherever they can.