REDUCING GUN VIOLENCE WHILE PRESERVING OUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
The Texas Democratic Party supports the right of every American to own and bear arms as preserved in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is part of our heritage as Texans and Americans to own firearms to protect our families, homes, and properties. We support the ownership of firearms for personal protection, hunting, target competitions, and other recreational endeavors. As responsible owners of firearms, we want to preserve these rights while implementing prudent safeguards to prevent random gun violence, needless suicides, senseless mass murders, tragic accidents, and interpersonal violence. Therefore, we support prudent safeguards including background checks, appropriate waiting periods, and the compilation of a registry of people with a history of violence or domestic abuse, which promote public safety and assist law enforcement in ensuring guns are kept out of the hands of criminals or those known to be at risk for causing harm to themselves or others.
The Texas Democratic Party supports policies and programs that:
- Prevent discrimination or restrictions on the possession of firearms solely on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, or socio-economic status;
- Require education to promote the responsible use and possession of firearms; and
- Advocate for responsible actions to promote public safety and reduce acts of violence.
Preserving Equal Access to Firearms
- Support the right of any citizen to own guns and oppose any legal restrictions preventing their possession based upon arbitrary classifications or medical conditions unrelated to their safe use; and
- Support the right of Texans to inherit, purchase, and exchange firearms through the stream of commerce.
Encouraging Education, Training, and Research for Gun Safety
- Support education and training programs that are affordable and accessible to Texans seeking a hunting license or permitting the concealed carry of a firearm;
- Support research promoting gun safety, such as child safety locks and other “smart gun” technology; and
- Lift all restrictions on research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into gun violence and allow physicians, mental health counselors, and family counselors to freely discuss gun safety with their patients.
Promoting Public Safety and Reducing Acts of Violence
- Support compiling a registry of people with violent histories, including family violence, to ensure these individuals cannot purchase guns until their records are cleared;
- Enact an Extreme Risk Protection Order Law, and provide that these decisions are made equitably without consideration of information on name, race, or ethnicity;
- Mandate the temporary surrender of all guns by a person who has had a protective order issued against them in the past 3 years or is convicted of a violent misdemeanor or felony, including animal abuse, or has been in the past 5 years in Texas, any other U.S. jurisdiction, or in military court, returning them only when that person has been deemed safe to own a gun by an approved licensed psychologist hired or contracted by the state or county and no sooner than one year after temporary surrender;
- Require universal background checks coupled with a reasonable waiting period, with the exception of an exchange of firearms within families or by inheritance, to ensure those charged with violent crimes cannot possess or acquire firearms while their charges remain pending;
- Remove loopholes that exempt gun shows and private sales to non-family members from background checks and other safety requirements prior to the sale of a firearm;
- Restore the prior federal prohibition on the purchase of assault weapons, as well as prohibit the manufacture, sale, or possession of bump stocks, binary trigger systems, trigger cranks, attachable silencers, and magazine clips that hold over 10 rounds;
- Prohibit the open carry of all firearms and repeal “campus carry” policies;
- Repeal laws that insulate manufacturers and distributors of firearms from civil liability;
- Promote law enforcement and first responders’ safety by banning all Teflon and armor-piercing ammunition;
- Remove any impediments to the freedom of local governments, school districts, churches, and proprietors to control the use and possession of firearms on their premises or in their public spaces; and
- Enact and enforce responsible gun storage laws.