By: Teresa Mull
Despite an uphill battle, the Texas legislature has managed to get its Constitutional Carry bill to Gov. Abbott’s desk, and just in time, as the 87th legislative session is set to conclude on May 31.
This feat is due in large part to the hard work of pro-gun organizations, namely the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) and Gun Owners of America.
Constitutional Carry is, as a reminder, the policy that law-abiding citizens do not need to ask the government permission to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
As GPM reported previously, for years, Constitutional Carry has generally eluded Second Amendment advocates in the Lone Star State; however, this year, favorable committee assignments helped with the bill’s passage.
The Texas State House approved House Bill 1927, sponsored by Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), in mid-April. Seven House Democrats voted in favor of HB 1927, the first time Constitutional Carry has been taken up in the Texas legislature.
There were rumors Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who called for universal gun registration, was the person responsible for organizing a behind-the-scenes anti-Constitutional Carry press conference held by several police chiefs on April 13. Patrick is suspected of getting anti-gun police chiefs to band together against HB 1927, based on his historically lukewarm views of Constitutional Carry. Additionally, according to a recent article in the Houston Chronicle, Patrick said Constitutional Carry didn’t have the votes in the Senate.
Nonetheless, HB 1927 passed its third reading in the Senate with a vote of 18-13 on May 5, with some amendments added to the bill that the House had to approve before sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signature.
Abbott said in a radio interview last month, "We should have 'constitutional carry' in Texas.”
The bill awaiting Abbott’s signature was approved by the Texas House with an 82-62 vote.
“The bill being sent to Abbott includes language that prohibits permitless carry for people convicted of certain misdemeanors in the past five years and increased penalties for felons who illegally carry a gun,” reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It requires the Texas Department of Public Safety to develop a free online course on firearm safety and training.”
Should this bill be signed into law, Texas would become the 21st Constitutional Carry state, and the fourth state to adopt the policy this year.
You know what they say… “As goes Texas, so goes the nation.”
In this case, that’s a good thing.
Teresa Mull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.