How Texas House Bill 1742 Will Improve Gun Rights Restoration Laws
Legislation in the Texas State House could expand the opportunity for many Texans with a criminal record to have their firearm rights restored by the courts. The bill, HB 1742, would clarify existing law and thereby insure that the right for offenders to have their rights restored is applied equally across Texas.
Texas circuit courts have differentiating interpretations about about existing law that sets forth the time period a judge has to restore a probationer’s firearm rights. As a result, many Texans only have up to 30 days after probation to convince a judge that they deserve to have their firearm rights restored.
If enacted, the bill would clarify that judges can decide whether or not to set-aside a former offender’s conviction and restore their firearm rights even after that 30 day period has passed.
Texas attorney Mathew Higbee says the bill empowers judges to make better decisions and provide greater incentives for rehabilitation. “Giving judges time to evaluate a former offender’s conduct months or years after probation should lead to better decisions and increased willingness to grant relief,” said Higbee.
Judicial clemency is a pardon alternative for those who received a sentence of community supervision and wish to restore their gun rights.
The Current Issue: Due to a circuit court split, reformed individuals only have 30 days from the date of discharge from supervision to apply for judicial clemency.
30 Days is not sufficient time for a judge to determine if an individual is a good candidate for having their firearm rights restored.
Currently, if an application is not filed within those 30 days, the only way to restore gun rights is through executive clemency, a lengthy process with low prospects of success.
The Benefits of HB 1742 for Firearm Rights:
- Provides deserving Texans an alternative means of restoring their Second Amendment rights that takes less time than a pardon and has a higher prospect of success.
- Preserves and protects firearm rights granted under the previous policy of judicial clemency.
- Grants individuals more time to show the court their rehabilitative efforts and that their mistakes are behind them.
- Allows judges discretion in restoring firearm rights, ensuring that only those who no longer pose an unreasonable risk to public safety receive their firearm rights back.
- HB 1742 is not only about giving people second chances in the workplace or their community, but also giving them a second chance at being a full citizen again with their second amendment rights restored.