The Texas Senate voted to advance a bill that allows constitutional carry for handguns. Currently, Texas only allows the constitutional carry for long guns.
This new bill, HB 1927, closes the gap that lets Texans carry their firearms in public without the need for a permit. It also sets Texas as potentially the largest state in the US to allow permitless carry.
HB 1927 passed by an 18-13 vote along party lines Wednesday. It now heads back to the Texas House, which passed a similar bill earlier this year.
However, since the House version is different from the Senate-approved version, the House will need to approve the latter. Only then can the bill reach the desk of Governor Greg Abbott, who can sign it into law.
State Senator Charles Schwertner Hails Passage
The Senate’s approval of HB 1927 marks a victory for gun rights activists and second amendment supporters. Previously, Republican attempts to pass the legislation on constitutional carry often end up nowhere in the Senate sessions.
State Senator Charles Schwertner (R), who sponsored the bill, hailed the victory. “HB 1927 would recognize the United States Constitution as our permit to carry and allow all law-abiding adults, aged 21 years or older, to carry a handgun for the protection of themselves or their families, in public places, in a holster, without the requirement of a state-issued license,” he declared.
“We cannot allow another session to come and go where we pay lip service to the Second Amendment while failing to fully restore and protect the God-given rights to our citizens,” Schwertner said. In addition, he said that this “represents one of the most significant efforts to secure the rights of gun owners that I’ve seen in more than 10 years serving in the Texas legislature.”
Restrictions On Gun Ownership Still Applies
Schwertner also clarified that nothing will change with regard to gun ownership. “People who are prohibited from possessing a handgun will still be prohibited from possessing a handgun under this bill. Nothing in this bill regarding possession is changed,” he said.
Fellow Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick hailed the passage as well. He said the bill is evidence of Texas’s strong support of the Second Amendment.
It would allow people 21 and older who can already legally own a gun to carry a handgun in public without the license, safety course and background check current law requires.
“I am proud that the Texas Senate passed House Bill 1927 today, the Constitutional Carry bill, which affirms every Texan’s right to self-defense and our state’s strong support for our Second Amendment right to bear arms. In the Lone Star State, the Constitution is our permit to carry,” he said in a statement.
“We have moved quickly on this legislation and I want to thank all those involved who helped gather the votes needed to pass this historic bill.”
Democrats Decried Passage of HB 1927
Meanwhile, Texas Democrats decried the bill’s passage, saying the bill potentially puts Texans’ safety at risk. The Texas Democratic Party issued a statement to that effect.
“Today, by allowing dangerous permitless carry legislation to move forward, disgraced Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is setting Texans up to lose more loved ones to gun violence,” the statement read. “Texas Republicans continue to be a major threat to public safety, this time attempting to remove all requirements for people to carry a handgun in public,” it added.
In addition, the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus also criticized HB 1927. “Republicans in the Texas Senate have prioritized more unregulated guns at the expense of public safety. Texas Senate Republicans are making it easier for dangerous individuals to carry a gun nearly everywhere they go,” the group remarked.
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