AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – A Texas bill that would allow handguns to be carried without a permit is now one step closer to becoming a law.
The bill, created by East Texas Rep. Matt Schaefer of Tyler, just passed through the Texas House and is on its way to the Senate.
Known as House Bill 1927, or the Constitutional Carry Bill, it nixes the requirement for Texas residents to get a license to carry handguns if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun.
Under current Texas law, people must generally be licensed to carry handguns, openly or concealed.
According to Schaefer, the new bill, which he has referred to as “common-sense carry“, is a way for people to protect themselves if they get into a situation where they feel unsafe.
“This bill has nothing to do with AR-15’s, rifles or shotguns,” Schaefer said. “Places like bars, schools, college campuses, the prohibitions they have there will remain in place.”
Some of those in favor of the bill say it could help in mass shooting situations by putting guns in the hands of the good guys.
“We need people who are able to protect themselves at the scene of the crime, obviously, before the police can get there,” Erich Pratt with Gun Owners of America said.
However, the bill has its opponents. Some worry that getting rid of the license also throws out much-needed training.
“To sit through a class, just like you do when you’re learning to drive a car, you learn the rules, you learn the laws,” state Rep. Vikki Goodwin said.
Earlier this month, police associations gathered at the Texas Capitol to urge legislators to vote against the bill. They want to make sure that everyone who carries a firearm is well trained, able to follow basic gun safety measures and understand the importance of responsible gun usage.
“Every police officer in Texas supports the right of our citizens to arm themselves for sport, hunting and protection,” Mike Mata, the president of the Dallas Police Association, said. “But as with any constitutional right, there comes great responsibility.”
20 other states including Arizona have similar laws.
Schaefer’s bill is headed to a Senate committee to further consideration.
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