Austin, TX--Lawmakers in the capital city, Austin are restoring the constitution or making the streets more dangerous depending on your views about handguns. The Senate passed the bill on Monday in a 17-13 vote. And the House passed the deal, behind closed doors on Sunday in an 82-62 vote.
Governor Greg Abbott has indicated that he will sign the proposal into law if it makes its way to his desk.
"We should have 'constitutional carry' in Texas," Abbott told North Texas radio host Rick Roberts in April.
“This is a simple restoration of Texans’ constitutional right under the Second Amendment, a right of the people to keep and bear arms,” the Senate sponsor, Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, said on the floor Monday. “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.”
State Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-District 5) says:
“The bill is to allow an individual to protect him, and his family in these troubling times, by allowing these law-abiding citizens to carry a permit-less manner handgun," Schwertner said.
Last month, police chiefs and law enforcement officers, including Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, gathered in Austin to voice their opposition to the "constitutional carry" of handguns in the state.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia lobbied against the legislation in Austin. Garcia told ABC 8 news that it's irresponsible to let untrained people carry handguns.
The National Rifle Association was among those in support of the bill. A spokesman for the National Rifle Association says it is the most significant gun legislation in the state of Texas:
“A right requiring you to pay a tax or obtain a government permission slip is not a right at all,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
The Associated Press reminds us this is the first time state lawmakers have met in session since the attack that killed 23 people, saying.
"Texas’ move to further loosen gun laws galled El Paso lawmakers, including Democratic state Rep. Joe Moody, who on Sunday night delivered an emotional address on the House floor that recounted being in rooms with the governor and family members searching for loved ones after the Walmart shooting in 2019."
Initially, the bill seemed to be roadblocked in the Senate. Never having garnered large public support many people are asking what changed to allow the bill to pass. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says:
“What changed is that I think that [Texas] House passed a good bill, and I think we made it stronger,” Patrick explained on Sunday’s Inside Texas Politics. “You know, some people, some of the headlines said the bill was stuck in the Senate. Well, that was just not true. We received the bill, I formed a committee called ‘Constitutional Issues,’ which I knew would move the bill to the floor because all the Republicans on the committee supported the bill. Then we passed the bill last week."
Other factors that may have contributed to the bill passing are the recent rash of shootings in Austin and hate crimes across the nation. People have a desire to protect themselves and not be afraid as they go about their daily lives and engage in public activities.
Guns continue to be a controversial topic, but lawmakers in Austin have spoken with their votes and Governor Greg Abbot is poised with his pen, ready to sign the proposal into law. In Austin and next across the state of Texas, handguns soon will not require a permit.