Texas House approves bill allowing election judges to carry a gun in most polling places

Texas House approves bill allowing election judges to carry a gun in most polling places

(CNN)The Texas House on Tuesday passed legislation that would allow election judges to carry a handgun in most polling places on Election Day and during the early voting period. HB 530 , which passed on a vote of 94 to 51, would specifically allow an election judge with a gun license to have a handgun at certain election sites only while executing their duties. Republican state Rep. Jared Patterson says he filed the bill in response to a constituent request. He wanted to codify a state attorney general’s opinion from 2018 that recognized that district court judges can carry firearms to polling places and election judges, who are essentially poll workers, "likewise had the authority to do so." The opinion stemmed from a 1913 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals case. "Our elections require security to safeguard our voting laws. By codifying this interpretation into law, Texas will improve enforcement of our future elections, discourage bad actors, and further ensure the safety of Texas voters," said Patterson in a Tuesday news release after the bill passed the House. The legislation comes at a time when the country continues to reckon with the use of force by police on Black and Brown communities and amid a rash of mass shootings across the country. Following the 2018 opinion, Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs advised that "if presiding judges choose to carry a handgun into a polling place, they MUST do so responsibly. They should NOT be displaying or discussing the weapon […]

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