State Watch

Bill to allow Texans to carry handguns without permit heads to governor’s desk

The Texas House on Sunday approved a bill that would allow people to carry handguns in the state without a license, sending the legislation to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk for approval.

The bill, which Abbott has said he will sign, would allow people 21 and older who are already legally able to own a gun carry a handgun in public without a license, safety course or background check, which is required under current law.

The state House cleared the bill in a 82 to 62 vote, after the Senate earlier this month approved it 18 to 13.

The compromise bill that was approved by both chambers includes a Senate amendment which increases criminal penalties for felons and family violence offenders who are discovered to be carrying, The Texas Tribune reported.

Additionally, the bill requires that the Texas Department of Public Safety offer a free, online course focused on gun safety, according to the Tribune.

Democrats raised concerns that the bill would put Texans in danger and state police officers at risk, according to the Tribune.

The Senate sponsor of the bill, Charles Schwertner, said, however, that “there is always a concern” when it comes to bills that involve firearms. Schwertner said he “absolutely” thinks the legislation will make Texas a safer place, according to the newspaper.

Abbott last month said he supports “constitutional carry” legislation.

According to The Texas Tribune, the governor told North Texas radio host Rich Roberts, “I support it, and I believe it should reach my desk, and we should have ‘constitutional carry’ in Texas.”

The Hill has reached out to Abbott for further comment.

A number of states have recently approved legislation to allow permit-less carry, including Iowa and Tennessee. The new laws in both states will go into effect on July 1.

Tags Firearms gun laws open carry Texas

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