April 15, 2021
The Texas House on Thursday gave the initial nod to a bill that would allow handguns to be carried without a permit, marking a win for 2nd Amendment activists who have for years pushed for the measure. The news is a major blow to El Paso Democrats who have been fighting for gun control measures since the 2019 massacre in their hometown.
The 84-56 vote came after several hours of some of the most emotionally charged debate, with Democrats pleading to their colleagues to reconsider their position on the legislation.
Several neighboring states, like Oklahoma, allow permitless carry, also known as “Constitutional Carry.”
House Bill 1927, spearheaded by state Rep. Matt Schaefer, (R) would nix the requirement for Texas residents to obtain a license to carry handguns if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun. Texans under current state law must generally be licensed to carry handguns, either openly or concealed.
“This bill should be called common-sense carry,” Schaefer said as he laid out the bill Thursday. He described a scenario in which two women — one who had time and resources to obtain a license to carry and another who did not — went for walks in different neighborhoods, arguing that the latter did not feel safe or well-equipped to protect their family.
Schaefer said under House Bill 1927, law-abiding Texans 21 and older would no longer need a license or permit to carry a handgun in public. “It’s time for Texas to join the 21 other states and pass common-sense Constitutional Carry.”
Schaefer said those eligible still won’t be able to carry their handguns in schools, sporting events, amusement parks, hospitals, and jails.
Business and property owners can still keep people with handguns out.
The Texas House will need to give a final stamp of approval to the legislation before it heads to the Senate, where the bill’s fate is less clear. The House is expected to take its final vote tomorrow.