Debate continues on southbound checkpoints bill

Recently, Senator Eddie Lucio requested that his southbound checkpoints bill be added to the list of items up for consideration by the Texas Legislature.

Texas border groups want changes to be made before it's approved.

Senate Bill 43 would allow the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), local authorities and federal agencies to work together and operate more southbound checkpoints to intercept guns and ammunition heading to Mexico.

"It's important for the security of the people," said Arabe Camacho who approves of the bill.

According to the bill, it would be located 250 yards away from a federally designed facility at or near the border and leading to an international border crossing.

Those supporting the bill agree that governor Rick Perry should add it to the list for consideration in special session, but those opposing the bill said it needs to be re-worked.

"The problem that Texas Border Coalition has with that is that 250 yards is not against the law for people to be carrying cash or arms in their vehicles. It becomes an offense when it's at the point of no return," said Monica Stewart with the Texas Border Coalition.

She said instead, federal funds should go to local agencies to assist customs and border protection.

She said 250 yards from the border crossing will interrupt business and customers would be subjected to the southbound checkpoints.

She said that's a concern for merchants.

"But it's good because there are some people that buy things that they shouldn't and they take it into Mexico," said Camacho.

According to a recent study, 70 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico were traced back to the United States in 2009 and 2010.

Senator Lucio has defended his bill stating that expanding DPS and local law enforcement's existing southbound checkpoints could intercept a lot of guns and cash going South.

Governor Rick Perry has until next Wednesday to decide whether he will add the bill to the special session.

The bill has been currently referred to the transportation and homeland security committee for review.

Click here for an update on the status of SB 43