HOUSTON - AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas would allow people to carry a handgun without a license, and the background check and training that go with it, under a measure approved by the state Senate on Wednesday.
Texas already has some of the loosest gun laws in the country and has more than 1.6 million handgun license holders. Lawmakers have reduced classroom and shooting range training requirements over the last decade but had been reluctant to eliminate the license requirement altogether.
The Senate added several provisions Wednesday, including enhanced penalties for felons caught carrying guns illegally and barring permitless carry for someone convicted of making a terroristic threat or disorderly conduct with a firearm.
Texas already allows rifles to be carried in public without a license. The proposed bill would allow anyone 21 or older to carry a handgun provided they had no violent crime convictions or some other legal prohibition in their background. But there would be no way to weed them out without the state background check.
The bill would not prevent businesses from banning guns on their property, and federal background checks for some gun purchases would remain in place. Texas has no state restrictions on private gun sales.
Supporters of the bill say it would allow Texans to better defend themselves in public while abolishing unnecessary hurdles to the Constitutional right to carry a gun.
SB1927 once deemed to have stalled by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, sailed through the upper chamber on an 18-13 vote along partisan lines.
Greg Groogan asks this week's panel when Governor Greg Abbott signs this into law, are we going to be better off or setting Texas up for more gunplay?