TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Gov. Greg Abbott signed two Texas-sized bills into law at the Alamo this Thursday, making the state the strictest against federal firearms regulations.
This week, Texas joined 20 other states in allowing its residents to carry a gun without a permit. When it goes into effect on Sept. 1, Texans 21 and older can carry without a license as long as they can legally own a handgun.
“My thoughts are Texans just got a little liberty back,” Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said.
Representative from Tyler, Matt Schaefer, authored the bill. He said he feels like this is a big win for the Lone Star State.
“We’ve always defended the 2nd Amendment, but today was an opportunity to restore the freedoms that were lost,” Schaefer said.
Sheriff Smith said that he agrees with the bill.
“I’ve always been in support of it, I actually went to testify it in Austin before the senate committee,” Smith said.
Reports show that more than 1.6 million people are currently licensed to carry in Texas. Schaefer says he is still encouraging Texans to get a license. He stresses that the bill is made for law-abiding citizens, not those looking for a loophole.
“There are many benefits to having that license, but bottom line is law abiding citizens, they do take personal responsibility,” Schaefer said.
There are still laws in place preventing guns in places like schools, courthouses and bars.
“I hear all this, ‘Well we don’t need to let people carry guns that aren’t trained and know when to shoot, when not to shoot.’ That’s not our choice to make when the Constitution gives them the right to do so,” Smith said.
Smith said that the Smith County Sheriff’s Office plans to hold firearm safety classes for the public in the near future.
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