Any Texan who can legally carry a handgun will soon be able to carry that gun in public without a state permit under a law passed by the state Legislature.
“We should have ‘constitutional carry’ in Texas,” Abbott said last month, according to The Texas Tribune.
The Texas House had initially approved the bill. The state’s Senate made some changes. The final version ironed out the differences on Monday.
“This is a simple restoration of Texans’ constitutional right under the Second Amendment, a right of the people to keep and bear arms,” Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner said Monday on the House floor, according to The Texas Tribune.
“I think it is a bill that is the strongest bill I’ve seen in my legislative career regarding the rights of our Second Amendment,” he said.
The Texas Senate just passed the Conference Cmte report on #HB1927. This bill is a strong #ConstitutionalCarry bill that will restore the right of law-abiding Texans to carry a handgun without a license for the defense of themselves & their loved ones. Next, the Governor’s desk! pic.twitter.com/TkkTQpSeYF
— Charles Schwertner (@DrSchwertner) May 24, 2021
Under current state law, anyone who wants to carry a handgun in public needs a state license. Under the new law, residents over 21 who can legally own a gun can carry it with them as they please.
“The House was very proud of the version of the bill that we sent over and the Senate was very proud of the amendments that they added,” Republican state Rep. Matt Schaefer said, according to The Texan.
“We felt like some of the protections for law-abiding citizens were diminished in the Senate version, and so we fought to get some of that back,” he said, adding that the bill is “no doubt is the strongest restoration of Second Amendment rights that any of us have ever seen in the history of the state of Texas.”
The final bill says the right to carry a gun is not absolute. Anyone who brings a gun to a place where signs say guns are banned can be charged with a misdemeanor. The bill bans carrying a gun in public while drunk.
It also excludes anyone convicted of a Class A misdemeanor for assault causing bodily injury, deadly conduct or terroristic threats, or anyone convicted of a Class B misdemeanor for illegally discharging a firearm in a public place or displaying a firearm in a manner calculated to alarm.
— NRA (@NRA) May 24, 2021
Not everyone was on board. Some cited recent shootings as a reason not to approve the bill.
“This is our first session since those tragedies, and this is our response: A bill to allow permitless carry,” Democratic state Rep. Chris Turner said, according to The Texas Tribune. “A bill to say you don’t have to have any training to carry a handgun in the state of Texas.
“And I can’t imagine a worse slap in the face to all those people who have advocated, to the victims and to the family of those victims.”
But Schaefer said the bill was about the rights of the majority.
“The simple truth is that those that intend evil, those who are criminals, don’t care what we do in this building,” he said.
“They haven’t in the past and they won’t in the future. We are charged with defending the freedoms that are owed to Texans and guaranteed by the Constitution,” Schaefer said.
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