Texas ‘constitutional carry’ bill allowing handguns to be carried without a permit clears Senate

Texas ‘constitutional carry’ bill allowing handguns to be carried without a permit clears Senate

The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would remove permit requirements for people to carry handguns in public, moving the bill one step closer to becoming law. 

The Texas Senate version of the bill, passed on a party-line vote, according to FOX 4, differs slightly from similar legislation already passed by the state’s House. That means the chambers will have to resolve their differences or the House will have to simply adopt the Senate bill, though it is expected to eventually make it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. 

“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 said of the bill, according to FOX 4. 

Gov. Greg Abbott in Austin, Texas, on December 17, 2020. (Jay Janner-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Gov. Greg Abbott in Austin, Texas, on December 17, 2020. (Jay Janner-USA TODAY NETWORK) (Jay Janner-USA TODAY NETWORK)

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Republican supporters of the bill noted that the bill does not change the requirements for people to buy handguns. It only removes the permit requirements to carry guns in public. 

“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.”

State Sen. Charles Schwertner, a Republican and the chief sponsor of the bill, implored fellow legislators to take action to expand gun rights in a speech ahead of the bill’s Senate passage.

“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,” he said. Schwertner continued to say that the bill “represents one fo 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.” 

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Democrats, meanwhile, slammed the bill as putting Texans’ safety at risk.

“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 in a statment. “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.”

The Texas Senate Democratic Caucus, meanwhile, said, “Republicans in the Texas Senate have prioritized more unregulated guns at the expense of public safety.” 

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“Texas Senate Republicans are making it easier for dangerous individuals to carry a gun nearly everywhere they go,” they added. 

Republicans refer to the bill as “constitutional carry,” and note that several other states have similar laws, allowing those who legally own guns to carry them in public without needing a permit. 

“I think it can get across the finish line. Constitutional carry exists in 20 states already,” Abbott said recently, according to FOX 4. 

Tyler Olson covers politics for FoxNews.com. You can contact him at tyler.olson@foxnews.com and follow him on Twitter at @TylerOlson1791.

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