The Texas House passed a bill on Thursday allowing adults over the age of 21 to carry a handgun without a permit or license.
The bill passed on an 87-58 vote and would allow residents to carry a gun without a permit unless the state or federal government prohibits them from owning a firearm.
It was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Matt Schaefer, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“The bill should be called common sense carry,” Schaefer said. “Law-abiding citizens need the ability to protect themselves and their families.”
Under current Texas law, gun owners must obtain a license to carry a handgun openly, The Texas Tribune reported.
Applicants must submit fingerprints, go through training, complete a written exam and take a shooting proficiency test.
State Rep. James White issued a statement on Wednesday saying that gun owners in states that do not require permits to carry still seek training and licenses.
The statement includes quotes from five firearm instructors who support the legislation.
“If other states’ experiences are any indication, passage of this bill will not likely substantially diminish the number of people acquiring [a license to carry]. … Even though it goes against my business interest, citizens’ free exercise of rights trumps my bottom line. I support Constitutional Carry,” instructor Aaron Marshall said, according to the statement.
🎉Texas House APPROVES NRA-Backed Constitutional Carry pic.twitter.com/WyevoGn3v9
— NRA (@NRA) April 15, 2021
Only one Republican voted against the bill, while seven Democrats supported it, according to The Tribune.
Democratic state Rep. Joe Moody tried to pass an amendment that would scrap the legislation. He said no action has been taken to prevent mass shootings after a gunman killed 23 people in El Paso in August 2019.
“I am so tired of the gun being worshipped like some golden calf and hearing all about rights, but nothing about responsibilities,” he said. “When are we going to do something?”
Tennessee and Iowa passed similar bills earlier this year, according to The Hill.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Washington are renewing their push for increased gun control following a recent spate of shootings across the U.S.
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