In the Lone Star State, the only permit you need to carry a handgun may soon be the Second Amendment. After years of failing to even get a vote on the floor, constitutional carry legislation has finally passed the Texas House in a bipartisan vote and is its way to the state senate.
House Bill 1927 by State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) would allow legal gun owners over the age of 21 to carry a handgun without the state’s License to Carry (LTC) permit.
HB 1927 passed 87-58 on the third reading Friday in a bipartisan vote. Seven Democrats voted in favor of the bill, while one Republican, State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) voted against it.
Schaefer, the bill’s primary author, stated that his bill should be called “common-sense carry,” and argued that the current law is unfair to people who don’t have the time and resources to maintain permits in order to carry a firearm to defend themselves.
Democrats who supported the bill framed it as a criminal justice reform, including State Rep. Terry Canales (R-Edinburg), who co-authored the legislation and spoke in favor of it on the floor. “This is a criminal justice reform bill, and I urge you to support it to keep people out of jail,” he said, arguing that Texas’ current “hodgepodge” of laws didn’t make sense.
While the passage of HB 1927 is a major accomplishment for gun rights activists, supporters of constitutional carry shouldn’t celebrate just yet. The legislation must now go through the Senate, which is led by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who has been less than enthusiastic towards constitutional carry.
However, if constitutional carry does become law, Texas will hardly be an outlier. Most state actually currently have permitless carry of handguns in some form or another, with 17 allowing both open and concealed carry without a permit.
The most controversial amendment was an attempt by State Rep. Jeff Cason (R-Bedford) to lower the bill’s age allowing permitless carry from 21 to 18. Cason’s amendment failed 121-12.
All three of Montgomery County’s state representatives ultimately voted in favor of HB 1927, as well as Walker County’s State Rep. Ernest Bailes (R-Shepherd).
“Today I’m supporting House Bill 1927, also known as the Firearm Carry Act, which will uphold our Constitutional Rights,” said Bailes. “This bill ensures that Texans who are lawfully able to carry a handgun are able to do so for personal protection and for the protection of one’s family.”
State Rep. Will Metcalf (R-Montgomery) was one of the bill’s coauthors. “I have been proud to support and co-author constitutional carry legislation and I look forward to passing House Bill 1927 out of the House this session,” said Metcalf. “House Bill 1927 seeks to make it easier for you, as a law-abiding citizen, to protect yourself and your family. This bill upholds our Constitutional Rights and makes clear that citizens are endowed with the right to protect themselves.”