Texas House Passes Constitutional Carry

Towards the end of this week, the Texas House passed Constitutional Carry, which allows lawful individuals to carry handguns without a license. 

The bill was initially approved on April 15 by a 84-56 vote. The House later approved the bill one final time and now awaits a vote in the Senate.

House Bill 1927 was introduced by Texas State Representative Matt Schaefer. The bill would scrap the requirement for Texas residents to acquire a license to carry handguns provided that they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from owning a firearm. 

Under Texas’ current law, Texans must possess licenses to carry handguns, whether concealed or open. 

“This bill should be called common-sense carry,” Schaefer declared as he argued in favor of the bill on April 15. 

Seven Democrats ended up voting for the Constitutional Carry. The Texas Tribune listed them off:

Seven Democrats voted for the bill, according to an unofficial vote total: Terry Canales of Edinburg, who was a joint author; Ryan Guillen of Rio Grande City, another joint author; Harold Dutton of Houston; Richard Peña Raymond of Laredo; Tracy King of Batesville; Leo Pacheco of San Antonio and Eddie Morales Jr. of Eagle Pass. One Republican, Morgan Meyer of Dallas, voted against it.

Republican State Representative Jeff Cason put forward an amendment that would have lowered the age for Constitutional Carry from 21 to 18. However, Schaefer and some of his other Republican colleagues opposed this proposal, which led to the demise of his amendment by a vote of 12-121.

The bill now has to be voted on in the Senate, which may be harder to pass. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who is in charge of the Senate,  has expressed hesitancy in the past about passing Constitutional Carry. In a 2017 radio interview, Patrick said “with all the police violence today we have in our state … law enforcement does not like the idea of anyone being able to walk down the street with a gun and they don’t know if they have a permit or not.”

Gun owners in Texas will have to turn up the heat on the Texas Senate. For the past decade, Constitutional Carry has evaded grassroots activists in Texas. Now, Texans have a golden opportunity to make Texas the 21st Constitutional Carry state.

Let’s hope they don’t become complacent. Relentless pressure is needed to pass a clean, Constitutional Carry bill.

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