Amid calls for gun reform, Texas advanced a bill to allow open carry without a permit

Connor Perrett
·3 min read
church gun
A volunteer member of the congregation at Joyful Heart Church poses with her concealed handgun inside the church in Stockdale, Texas, on January 26, 2020. Getty Images/Washington Post
  • The Texas House this week passed legislation to allow handguns to be carried without a permit.

  • Calls for gun reform have been reignited after multiple mass shootings in the US this year.

  • Lawmakers who opposed the bill pointed toward the 2019 deadly mass shooting in El Paso that left 23 dead.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Texas lawmakers on Friday moved forward on legislation allowing handguns to be carried in the state without a permit.

The Texas House of Representatives of Friday voted to pass House Bill 1927, which was proposed by Rep. Matt Schafer, a Republican, according to KVUE. The bill now heads to the state Senate.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, Texans over the age of 21 would be allowed to possess and carry handguns - openly or concealed - without first obtaining a permit. Abbott said earlier in April he wanted to make Texas a "sanctuary state" for gun owners.

Democrats had proposed more than 20 amendments to the bill, but all failed.

According to the report, Texas law currently requires a person to obtain a permit, which requires a training course, a written exam, a shooting test, and being fingerprinted.

The bill also requires business owners to tell customers verbally that guns aren't allowed in their businesses - a sign stating firearms are prohibited no longer will suffice, the report said.

Joe Moody, a Democrat who opposed the bill and proposed one of the failed amendments, spoke out against the legislation and referenced the 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in the city of El Paso that left 23 people dead.

"Members, I'm so tired of doing nothing," Moody said. "I'm so tired of catering to a very small number of very loud people who's thinking about guns is wrapped up in unfounded fears and bizarre conspiracy theories. I'm so tired of the gun being worshipped like some golden calf and hearing all about rights, but nothing about responsibilities."

Supporters said the bill removes the financial burden created by requiring a license.

In addition to opposition from gun-reform advocates, some law enforcement groups also protested the legislation, saying it would make police officers "less safe," KVUE reported.

The bill comes amid a recent spike in mass shooting incidents renewed calls for gun reform in the US

gun protest
A person holds an image of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot and killed by police, as protesters and activists attend a vigil for Daunte Wright and others killed during police confrontations in New York city on April 16, 2021. ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

Calls for gun reform legislation have once again grown in the US following the latest wave of shootings. After a gunman opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis on Friday, killing eight people, President Joe Biden said gun violence "stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation."

As Insider previously reported, the number of mass shootings in the US in 2021 is up 73% compared to this time last year. According to the report, there have been 147 mass shootings so far this year compared to 85 by this point in 2020. The 2021 shootings have so far killed 176 people, compared to 92 deaths from mass shootings by this point in 2020.

Experts say the rise in shootings could be the result of a "contagion effect" where more people are likely to commit an act of violence after they've seen violence committed.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks mass shootings in the US, there have been 16 mass shootings in Texas so far this year. The organization classifies a mass shooting as one where at least four people, excluding the shooter, are killed or injured.

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