Texas rising: State House approves bill that would allow people to carry a gun without a license

AUSTIN, TX –  The Texas House approved a bill that would allow citizens to carry a firearm without obtaining a permit or license.

House Bill 1927 would end the requirement for Texas residents to obtain a license to carry handguns if they are not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun.

Under current Texas law, residents must be licensed to carry handguns, either open or concealed.  To obtain a license, the citizen must undergo a background check and a firearms training class.

Under the new bill, anyone over age 21 can carry concealed or open as long as they pass a background check and have no legal restrictions preventing the possession of a firearm.

The 84-56 vote on Thursday marks a win for gun rights activists who have been pushing for the measure for years.

The vote came after houses of passionate debate from both sides of the issue. HB 1927 was sponsored by Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), who said the bill was necessary to even the playing field with criminals:

“It’s time for Texas to join the 21 other states and pass common-sense Constitutional Carry. Criminals don’t care about our gun laws and so they have an advantage over the vulnerable.”

Seven Democrats voted for the bill and one Republican voted against it.

Democratic lawmaker Joe Moody (D-El Paso) attacked the bill while mentioning a deadly mass shooting in El Paso two years ago:

“After those shootings … there were roundtable discussions and stakeholder meetings and a lot of promises — and I was hopeful, members, even knowing the political realities, I was hopeful. Members, I’m so tired of doing nothing. … When are we going to do something?”

Moody said that following the shooting in August 2019 that killed 23 people, no action has been taken to prevent future tragedies. He pushed for an amendment to HB 1927 which would have made the bill ineffective, but it failed 63-79.

Two Democrats — Diego Bernal of San Antonio and Rafael Anchía of Dallas — tried unsuccessfully to amend Schaefer’s bill to bar domestic terrorists, or “violent white supremacist extremist[s], as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security” from carrying a handgun without a permit. Anchía said:

“I think it’s always the right time to be talking about denouncing white supremacists and preventing guns from falling into their hands.”

The bill now moves to the less-receptive Senate, where Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick expressed concerns about the bill. In a 2017 radio interview, Patrick said:

“With all the police violence today, we have in our state … law enforcement does not like the idea of anyone being able to walk down the street with a gun and they don’t know if they have a permit or not.”

Law enforcement has overwhelmingly opposed the constitutional carry legislation. During a press conference on the steps of the Texas Capitol Tuesday, several police chiefs gathered to voice their opposition. Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said:

“Gun owners have a duty to ensure that their guns are handled safely and a duty to know applicable laws. The licensing process is the best way to ensure this message is conveyed.”

San Marcos Police Chief Stan Standridge said:

“At least with the license to carry permit, citizens must demonstrate basic knowledge and awareness of laws. And the course now even teaches how to de-escalate to forego use of firearms to begin with.”

Additionally, Texas Democrats have opposed the bill, and have instead filed legislation to increase gun restrictions. Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued a statement that said:

“I ask every Texas leader to stand with me in calling for the common-sense gun reform that will keep people safe. Texas families cannot wait any longer.”

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Iowa joins 18 other ‘constitutional carry’ states, says no permit needed to buy or carry handguns

April 3, 2021

 DES MOINES, IA – Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA) signed House File 756 into law Friday eliminating a requirement that Iowans obtain a permit to acquire or carry handguns. Iowa joins 18 states with similar “constitutional carry” laws.

Governor Reynolds said the new law would protect the Second Amendment:

“Today I signed legislation that protects the 2nd Amendment rights of Iowa’s law-abiding citizens while still preventing the sale of firearms to criminals and other dangerous individuals.”

The Governor said the law will help protect law-abiding citizens:

“(The new law takes) greater steps to inform law enforcement about an individual’s mental illness helping ensure firearms don’t end up in the wrong hands.

“We will never be able to outlaw or prevent every single bad actor from getting a gun, but what we can do is ensure law-abiding citizens have full access to their constitutional rights while keeping Iowans safe.”

The law takes effect on July 1 and will give Iowans the right to purchase and carry concealed handguns without a permit issued by the Sheriff’s departments. The new law also shifts the burden of background checks from the purchaser to the gun dealers.

Current Iowa law requires anyone who wants to purchase or carry a firearm must receive a license from their county Sheriff’s office.

Before issuing the permit, the office must run a check on the applicant using the federal government’s database of persons excluded from owning firearms. If the person passes, they receive a permit valid for five years.

State Sen. Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig), H.F. 756’s floor manager, said the new law ends a flawed system:

“This bill fundamentally changes the relationship between the state government and our citizens. Currently, whether we want to admit it or not, our system of permits is one of mistrust. That means you can exercise a fundamental right, but you must prove yourself not guilty in advance.

“That is not how America is supposed to work and I’m not happy with the way our federal government is moving right now. But I know it’s not the way Iowa works and we’re going to deal with that now.

“After House File 756, the honest citizen is free from government intrusion in this aspect of their lives. Those who prove themselves not worthy through their own actions, however, will see their penalties increase. This is the proper role and word of government.”

Support for the new law ran mostly along party lines, with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposed.

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Author: Scott A. Davis


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