Texas legislators approved the final version of a bill that will allow residents to openly carry a handgun without a permit. Now, the bill is making its way to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk for his review and signature.
House Bill 1927 would allow any individual who is legally allowed to possess a firearm in the state to carry a handgun in public spaces without a permit. Texas isn’t the first conservative state to pass measures such as this this year either. Meanwhile President Joe Biden has been taking action to strengthen gun restrictions in wake of the multiple mass shootings that have occurred this year.
Once signed, the bill will go into effect in September, making Texas the largest state to allow its gun owners to carry weapons in public without a license. Abbott already claimed that he would be signing the bill once it made it through the legislature.
“I’ll be signing it. I support it and I believe it should reach my desk and we should have ‘constitutional carry’ in Texas.”
The bill itself passed through Texas legislative chambers earlier this month but was later sent to a separate conference committee to negotiate changes from both parties. The committee reached a final agreement on the bill this past Friday, and the Texas Senate approved the bill on Monday after the Texas House passed it on Sunday.
Texas already allows citizens to carry rifles openly without a license, but the current law states that residents must have a license in order to carry an open or concealed handgun. Part of the licensing process includes residents submitting a fingerprint, undergoing a background check, participating in a training course, and passing a shooting proficiency test.
The Texas Department of Public Safety will now be required to also post a free online course on firearm safety and handling on its website as a part of the new bill.
Many republican supporters of the bill refer to it as a “constitutional carry,” and have always argued that the licensing requirement to carry a gun should be removed as it represents an “artificial barrier” to residents’ second amendment right to bear arms.
Democrats and law enforcement officials, however, have been adamant about the fact that the bill also eliminates mandatory firearms training that works to help protect the public. Additionally, law enforcement are worried about how much more difficult it’s going to be to determine who’s unlawfully carrying a weapon.
Iowa, Tennessee, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming have all passed legislation this year that allows residents to carry without a permit. Nineteen states currently allow permitless carry as well.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.