AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) The Texas permitless carry bill, authored by East Texas Representative Matt Schaefer has been signed by Governor Abbott and will take effect September 1 of this year.
House Bill 1927 removes the licensing requirement for Texans to carry firearms if they are 21 or older “and not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing the firearm.”
Schaefer filed the bill originally on February 12, and was passed out of a Special Senate Committee in April with a 5-2 vote.
The Texas Senate then gave their initial approval to the contentious bill on May 5.
SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION
Supporters note it would allow responsible gun-owners access to firearms after costs to secure a license are removed.
“Very frequently, people of lesser means are more directly affected by such restrictions, because they may or may not have the means to apply for a license to carry a handgun,” Rick Briscoe, legislative director for Open Carry Texas, said in an interview earlier this year.
“Or they may have had some minor scrape with the law which, under present, Texas law would disqualify them from being able to obtain a license to carry, and yet they have the same need protect their families and themselves.”
Opponents argue the bill would remove safeguards like background checks and training currently required when Texans seek to obtain a license to carry.
“Current law in Texas is to carry a handgun in public, a person has to have a license to carry, and that means you have to get a background check, you have to have classroom or virtual training about safety and gun laws and you have to demonstrate a level of live fire shooting proficiency in front of a license to carry instructors,” Gyl Switzer, director of Texas Gun Sense, said in a press conference.
“The permitless carry bills call for no background check, no training, no demonstration of proficiency,” Switzer claimed.
State Senator Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, announced his support for the bill.
CHANGES TO THE BILL
Senators made several changes to the bill in the upper chamber. Senators added a provision to allow law enforcement officers to secure a handgun in a gun locker or other secure area when taking a person into the secure area of a police station. They also approved a measure to prevent anyone from legally carrying a handgun in Texas if that person was convicted of crimes in the past five years such as terroristic threat, deadly conduct, assault that causes bodily injury and disorderly conduct with a firearm.
Senators also affirmed that a person cannot carry a handgun while intoxicated in a public space. Other amendments adopted included increased penalties for felons caught with a firearm and increased penalties for Texans family violence convictions.
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