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Texas Sees ‘Shall Sign’ NFA Legislation

Texas Law Shield would like to tell our members a little about House Bill 1179, introduced by Rep. Charlie Geren (R-99). It is a pro-suppressor measure that 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.

According to the American Suppressor Association, H.B. 1179 is known as “Shall Sign” or “Shall Certify” legislation. 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.

According to ASA, “Shall Sign” legislation is currently advancing in states across the country. On January 28, the North Dakota Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 2274, and on February 4, the West Virginia Senate passed Senate Bill 284. If these bills become law, Texas, North Dakota, and West Virginia will join the ranks of Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah as the states with Shall Sign legislation on the books.

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