Another update - Chris McNutt says he will now be joining me at 2pm on 950 in Housotn to tell his side of the story.
Update: I reached out to Chris McNutt to find out what really happened.
He told me:
"I have the full support of every grassroots gun rights organization in the state of Texas. this was 100% a fabricated hit job by the speaker to take cover off of himself for his own actions of killing the bill. More details in that previous link."
As a rule of thumb, I'm not a big fan of activists showing up at lawmakers homes and bothering their families.
It bugs me just as much when Republicans do it as it does when Dems do it.
I'm also not a big fan of lawmakers making silly excuses in an effort to kill a bill that should be an easy win in a conservative state like Texas.
Case in point, a gun rights activist showed up at the homes of various Texas lawmakers to promote a gun rights bill and, in response, the lawmakers decided to kill the bill.
We should all be disappointed in the Texas lawmakers who killed the bill, but activists who show up at lawmaker's houses are just as bothersome.
To be fair, I wasn't there and I don't know the full story, but this is really disappointing news.
After news broke that an activist pushing a “constitutional carry” gun proposal tried to visit the homes of several Texas House leaders, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, declared his bill on the matter dead and wrote in a statement Friday he’s “officially canceling” his request for a committee hearing.
House Bill 357 would give Texans the right to openly carry a firearm without a permit. While the proposal has failed to gain traction at the Legislature in prior sessions, it made headlines after The Facts reported that a gun rights activist, angry at the lack of movement on the bill, visited the homes of House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and other House leaders seemingly hoping to convince them to advance the gun legislation.
The activist, Chris McNutt, executive director of the nonprofit group Texas Gun Rights, was intercepted by officers with the Department of Public Safety when he attempted to visit Bonnen’s home.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Bonnen called the activist's move “gutless.” And Democratic state Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, who chairs the House committee where Stickland’s legislation was referred, told The Texas Tribune this morning that he initially planned to give the bill a hearing but, “the behavior of certain groups and/or individuals who are unreasonable on their expectations and even more unreasonable in their behavior caused me to reconsider.
In a Facebook video, Stickland said he was “saddened by the act of a few individuals that have stolen the conversation about legislation that I deeply care about. … There is a right way and a wrong way to influence the legislative process. … It is never okay to target their homes or personal businesses when you know they are not in town.”
Stickland admitted defeat in subsequent statement. He said that while “constitutional carry” was of “great importance” to him, it “will not become law this session.”
“I refuse to act like it is still a possibility and continue to provide false hope to my constituents,” Stickland said. “I cannot participate in political theatre and ask that Texans come to Austin to spend their time and money for a piece of legislation that has no path to success.”
Hopefully Texas lawmakers will give this vote a second chance sometime in the near future. In the meantime, please leave lawmaker's families alone, folks. There are better ways to promote a bill.
DALLAS, TX - MAY 05: Gun rights advocates stage a demonstration outside of Dallas City Hall near the NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on May 5, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. The National Rifle Association's annual meeting and exhibit runs through Sunday. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)