Texas, already home to some of the laxest gun laws in the country, is set to remove a major gun restriction that would allow Texans to carry handguns without a license.
According to the Associated Press, background checks and training will also be removed. In Texas, rifles currently can be carried in public without a license and this law would allow any person who is 21 years old and over to carry a handgun in public without a license, considering the person does not have criminal convictions or any type of legal prohibition found in their background. The law, however, does not prevent businesses from banning or prohibiting firearms on their property. Federal background checks would also remain in place for certain gun purchases, yet Texas currently has no state requirements when it comes to background checks on private gun sales. The bill does contain stricter penalties for felons caught illegally carrying firearms (Associated Press).
On Monday, the Texas’ legislature approved the bill and Gov. Greg Abbott is set to sign it in spite of warnings from the public and law enforcement who claim the bill would endanger both the public and the police. Many law enforcement groups have voiced their concerns stating that with no state background check in place, it’s difficult to pick apart those with a criminal history. Democratic state Rep. Joe Moddy gave a passionate speech on the House floor recalling the search done by the governor and family members who were searching for loved once after the 2019 Walmart shooting that left 23 people deceased. Moody recalled that after the 2019 attack, the state promised it would “take gun safety seriously.”
Supporters of the bill claim that this law will allow citizens to defend themselves in public if a situation calls for it. The National Rifle Association is among the many groups voicing their support for the legislation. Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action stated, “A right requiring you to pay a tax or obtain a government permission slip is not a right at all,” and the NRA spokesman called it the “most significant” gun law in the history of Texas. Once the bill is signed, Texas will join the other two dozen states that have implemented unregulated carry of handguns.
ARTICLE: LAURA RAMIREZ
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: KLTV