Earlier this week, Senate Bill 476 passed the Senate State Affairs committee by a 7-2 margin. Sponsored by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-18), this ASA, NRA, and TSRA backed bill is a pro-suppressor measure which would require Chief Law Enforcement Officers (CLEOs) in Texas to sign NFA applications within 15 days of receipt, unless the applicant is found to be a prohibited person. On Monday, ASA President Knox Williams, and Dave Matheny, ASA Board Member and Owner of Austin based Silencer Shop, were in committee to testify in support of the bill.
SB 476 and HB 1179, the House companion bill, are part of a nation-wide effort the ASA is undertaking, with help from the NRA, to pass “Shall Sign” or “Shall Certify” legislation across the country. This issue became a top priority for the American Suppressor Association following the Obama Administration’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Docket No. ATF 41P. This is the executive action which seeks to extend the CLEO signoff requirement to every member of every NFA trust and legal entity.
When the National Firearms Act of 1934 was signed into law, computerized background checks did not exist. At that time, the CLEO signoff was the only means by which individuals applying for a transfer of an NFA item could be vetted. Since 1934, technology has come full circle, but the now antiquated CLEO signoff requirement has remained. Many CLEOs refuse to sign NFA applications, basing their refusal on perceived liability or on purely political reasons. Shall Sign legislation fixes these issues, ensuring that law abiding citizens in the state receive their CLEO signature within a reasonable amount of time.
Already this year, Shall Sign bills have passed in 3 new states —Arkansas, North Dakota, and West Virginia – all by unanimous votes. A similar bill also passed unanimously in Tennessee, which strengthens the already existing Shall Sign law in the state. The bills in Arkansas and North Dakota have been signed into law. Once enacted, these states will join the ranks of Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah as the states with Shall Sign legislation on the books.
As always, the American Suppressor Association will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that your suppressor rights are protected and expanded. We will keep you updated as pro-suppressor legislation advances.