Watch LIVE

Permitless carry of a handgun in Texas nearly law after Senate passes 'constitutional carry' bill

Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

The Texas Senate passed a bill that will allow citizens to carry handguns without the requirement of a permit, paving the way for a Second Amendment victory in the Lone Star State.

"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," state Sen. Charles Schwertner (R), a sponsor of the bill, said.

House Bill 1927 was passed by the Texas Senate by an 18-13 vote on Wednesday night after six hours of debate, and now returns to the House, which passed similar legislation earlier this year. If the legislation passes in the House, it will then go to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who said he would sign the legislation if it reached his desk, which would mark a win for gun rights activists.

"I support it, and I believe it should reach my desk, and we should have 'constitutional carry' in Texas," Abbott told radio host Rick Roberts last month.

"People are already allowed to have constitutional carry for long guns in the state of Texas. This just adds handguns, someone has to still go through a background check when they buy a handgun," Abbott told KDFW-TV. "I think it can get across the finish line. Constitutional carry exists in 20 states already."

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said the passing of the bill was an example of the state's strong support of the Second Amendment.

"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," Patrick 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."

"This bill doesn't change public safety laws. Individuals currently prohibited from possessing a firearm will still be prohibited. Openly carrying a handgun in places where carrying is now restricted, like schools, polling places, & hospitals remain prohibited," the Texas Senate GOP tweeted. "HB 1927 does not impact the purchase or transfer of a firearm, background checks required to purchase a firearm, and the ability of business and private property owners to exclude the use of handguns on their property. The Republican-led Texas Senate will continue defending your 2nd Amendment rights and applaud Senator Schwertner for sponsoring this liberty-expanding bill!"

Democrats sounded the alarm about the bill, claiming that the legislation puts Texans at risk.

"More criminals are going to walk around with guns openly, I promise you," state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D) said during the floor debate, according to the Dallas Morning News. "More vigilantes are going to rise up."

"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 Texas Democratic Party said, according to Fox News. "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."

"Republicans in the Texas Senate have prioritized more unregulated guns at the expense of public safety," the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus warned. "Texas Senate Republicans are making it easier for dangerous individuals to carry a gun nearly everywhere they go."

Texas Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Carol Alvarado said, "HB 1927 strips away the last remaining safeguards protecting Texans from untrained and unfit individuals being able to carry a handgun in public."

Most recent
All Articles