Texas State House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation, known as “Constitutional carry” that would allow eligible residents over age 21 to carry a firearm, either openly or concealed, without needing a permit.
Shortly after midnight on Monday, the Texas House voted 82-62 in favor of the legislation, HB 1927. The legislation is now set to go to the Texas Senate for a vote where it is expected to pass.
The House vote comes after lawmakers in the House and Senate reached a compromise after the Senate made changes to the original legislation that were not agreeable to the House. According to the Houston Chronicle, the Texas Senate nearly stopped the bill amid pushback from law enforcement agencies. Senate amendments included measures to increase penalties for felons who carry firearms. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) reportedly fought to keep a provision in the bill that expunges people’s
past convictions for carrying a firearm without a permit.
Schaefer told the Fort Worth Star Telegram, “The House and Senate conferees have reached an agreement on House Bill 1927, a critical benchmark before this bill reaches Gov. Abbott’s desk. By working together, the House and Senate will send Gov. Abbott the strongest Second Amendment legislation in Texas history, and protect the right of law-abiding Texans to carry a handgun as they exercise their God-given right to self-defense and the defense of their families.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already tweeted his support for the legislation. On Friday he tweeted, “Constitutional carry is moving in the #txlege. The strongest Second Amendment legislation in Texas history. Let’s get it to my desk for signing. #2A #SecondAmendment.”
With the Senate likely to pass the amended legislation, and with Abbott having already voiced his support, gun rights advocates have already begun to celebrate. In an email to supporters, Andi Turner, legislative
director for the Texas State Rifle Association, said there are still steps remaining to become law, “but I am putting the champagne
in the refrigerator to chill.”
State Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie), meanwhile criticized the
legislation, saying, “What a slap in the face this is to all those people who have asked us, pleaded and begged, that we finally do something about the epidemic of gun violence.”
The gun control group Texas Gun Sense also tweeted, “Guns everywhere do not make us safer” and linked to a tweet about a 16-year-old hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg as a result of an attempted robbery.
According to the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), 20 other states already have some form of permitless carry legislation. Texas would be the 21st and largest state to pass such legislation.