NEWS & ANALYSIS

Gov. Abbott to Sign Bill Allowing Texans to Carry Handguns Without a Permit


In another random act of federalism, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is set to sign a bill allowing Texans to carry handguns without a permit, so long as they haven’t been convicted of a violent crime

The Texas House approved the bill just before midnight on Sunday in an 82-62 vote, and the Senate approved it Monday in a 17-13 vote. Abbott has indicated he will surely sign the proposal into law. 

“We should have ‘constitutional carry’ in Texas,” he told a local radio station in April. 

“This is a simple restoration of Texans’ constitutional right under the Second Amendment, a right of the people to keep and bear arms,” the Senate sponsor, Sen. Charles Schwertner said on the floor Monday. “I think it is a bill that is the strongest bill I’ve seen in my legislative career regarding the rights of our Second Amendment.” 

The bill would do away with the requirement for Texans to acquire a permit to carry a handgun if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law. It also preserves a Senate amendment enhancing the criminal penalties for felons and family violence offenders caught carrying a handgun. 

Meanwhile, under current state law, Texans must be licensed to carry handguns – whether openly or concealed. Carriers must submit fingerprints, complete four to six hours of training, and pass a written exam and shooting proficiency test. 

Schwertner said “there is always a concern” when it comes to legislation dealing with firearms and guns, but he “absolutely” thinks the bill will make Texas safer.