State Representative Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) took advantage of early bill filing earlier this month by proposing legislation that, if enacted, would protect district attorneys, along with other prosecutors, by enabling them to openly carry firearms for safety purposes.
“The tragic murders of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McClelland, his wife Cynthia, and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse shook up the entire state last year,” Rep. Ashby said. “It’s our responsibility to ensure we take every measure possible to protect these brave men and women who, like our law enforcement officials, put themselves in harm’s way by the very nature of their job.”
On Nov. 12, Rep. Ashby filed House Bill 278, which proposes that certain state attorneys, including prosecutors, be allowed to openly carry a firearm. The bill would bring the open-carry rights of these attorneys in-line with those of special investigators, peace officers and other law enforcement officials.
“District attorneys, assistant district attorneys, criminal district attorneys, county and municipal attorneys– all of these folks face threats from defendants on a daily basis,” Rep. Ashby said. “It is imperative that as lawmakers we at least provide them with the option to carry a firearm for protection.”
There has already been at least one bill filed this month that calls for open carry of firearms for all Texans, but the second-term legislator says he does not want to take any chances with the safety of our prosecutors.
“I’m not going to tie the ability of our prosecutors to protect themselves to the fate of another bill,” Rep. Ashby said.
Rep. Ashby also filed House Bill 277, which amends the Texas Penal Code in order to expand what constitutes capital murder by including the murder of prosecuting attorneys and/or assistant prosecuting attorneys in retaliation for those individuals performing the duties of their job.
“Both of these bills send a message to our county and district attorneys that lets them know we are going to do everything we can to help,” Rep. Ashby said. “To me, there should be no question as to how important it is that these bills get passed; and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work to protect these men and women that do so much for our great state.”