Texas to Permit Carrying Handgun Without a License

Governor says he'll sign though police have doubts
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2021 7:15 PM CDT
Texas to Permit Carrying Handgun Without a License
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown in 2019, said he'll sign the new handgun legislation into law.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Texas legislators on Monday approved removing some of the few remaining restrictions on gun ownership in the state. The measure being sent to Gov. Greg Abbott will let Texans carry handguns without a license and without undergoing a background check and training, CNBC reports. Abbott has said he'll sign the legislation. "I think it is a bill that is the strongest bill I’ve seen in my legislative career regarding the rights of our Second Amendment," said Republican Sen. Charles Schwertner, the Senate sponsor, per KPRC. A license will no longer be required as long as the owner is not barred by state or federal law from having a gun. As of now, applicants have to submit fingerprints, take four to six hours of training, and pass a written exam and shooting test, per the Texas Tribune.

There's been opposition to the change from law enforcement groups on the grounds that it will put the public and police at greater risk. "Are you aware there are a large number of families on both sides of the aisle who are literally afraid of your legislation?" a Democratic senator asked on the floor. Proponents pointed out that at least 20 states have such laws, though a recent poll found most Texans don't approve of permitless carry. The bill was adjusted in the Senate, after the House approval it, in response to some of the objections; one part was dropped that would have barred officers from questioning someone solely because they had a gun. Texas already doesn't requite a permit to carry a rifle. (Read more gun laws stories.)

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