Austin, TX

Austin Lawmakers Decide on Permitless Gun Carry

Nicole Akers
Potentially no license to carry to be decided by lawmakers in Austin.Photo by Enrico Hänel from Pexels

Austin, TX- The state capital is about to decide whether Texas law-abiding citizens can conceal and carry a handgun without a permit. Some lawmakers say it's a constitutional right to carry a handgun and others say it's dangerous.

In Austin, House Bill 1927passed on Friday. According to the Austin-American Statesman:

"HB 1927 would allow anyone over the age of 21 who can legally possess a firearm to carry a handgun in public. Current Texas law allows residents 21 or older to carry a handgun after completing the required training to obtain a license to carry, have a clean criminal record and do not have a chemical dependence."

Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler said:

"The bill should be called common sense carry," he said, adding that the measure doesn't change background check laws and "has nothing to do with the purchase or transfer of a firearm."

Common sense seems to be the theme Schaefer is a proponent of: citizens exercising a common right to carry a common weapon to protect themselves.

Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, spoke at the front of the chamber in Austin:

"I'm so tired of doing nothing," Moody said. "I'm so tired of catering to a very small number of very loud people whose thinking about guns is wrapped up in unfounded fears and bizarre conspiracy theories."

Wfaa News 8 in Austin says that even if the bill passes the Senate, handguns will not be allowed in certain places under HB1927:

  • on the premises of businesses that had an alcoholic beverage permit or license and derived at least 51% of their income from the sale of alcoholic beverages
  • on the premises where an amateur or professional sporting event was taking place, except under certain circumstances
  • on the premises of a correctional facility
  • on the premises of a civil commitment facility
  • on the premises of a state hospital or nursing home or the premises of a mental hospital, unless authorized
  • in an amusement park 
  • businesses or properties that give effective notice that handguns aren't allowed.

The bill is interestingly timed in a rash of gun-related incidents and killings across the United States and one shooting in Austin recently. Others think that residents who are able to carry handguns may be able to help in these incidents.

Jeanette Arpero told News Channel 10:

“So, right now if you want to either conceal carry or open carry in Texas you have to undergo a license requirement, meaning that you have to provide fingerprints, go through about four to six hours of training and then go through a gun range and do a shooting proficiency,” said Jeanette Arpero, criminal justice professor at WTAMU.

Arpero goes on to say, “Gun right advocates are saying that it is a step towards full restoration of the second amendment right which they find to be really important, especially here in Texas. They’re also alleging that it is necessary for self-defense in the wake of recent mass shootings. That’s something that comes to the forefront of most Americans minds.”

Handgun safety courses will not be mandatory if the law passes, but are available. Lone Star Gun Range in Austin offers a variety of training classes on a variety of guns. Those who provide gun training as their livelihood are concerned they will lose money on the courses they provide.

The loss of licensing fees is another concern. The standard fee for a license to carry in Texas is $40.

The bill, if it passes in Austin, will remove the Texas state licensing requirement for law-abiding citizens. It is still illegal for anyone who has been convicted or who has a criminal background to carry a gun.

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Austin, TX

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