Permitless carry of handguns passes in Texas Senate, closer to becoming law

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The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed a permitless carry bill that would allow Texans to carry a handgun without a license.

House Bill 1927, which is now one step closer to heading to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, was approved after hours of debate on the Senate floor. If made law, the proposal, often called “Constitutional Carry” by supporters, would allow anyone to carry a handgun without a license as long as they’re not otherwise barred from doing so.

The bill passed out of the House in April.

“I appreciate the vigorous and lengthy discussion about important issues that affect our state, our gun ownership and the right to carry a firearm for self defense in a holster by individuals age 21 years and older,” said Sen. Charles Schwertner, a Georgetown Republican, before lawmakers took their vote.

Democrats were unsuccessful in attaching several gun safety provisions to the bill, including an extreme risk protective order amendment and an amendment that would have required background checks on stranger-to-stranger sales.

“Members, we’ve got to advance reforms to protect our communities, because if we don’t we can expect ... more violence, more senseless murder, more mass shootings,” said Sen. Cesar Blanco, an El Paso Democrat.

Amendments that made it onto the bill include increased penalties for felonies who illegally carry guns and prohibiting permitless carry for people convicted of making a terroristic threat or disorderly conduct with a firearm, according to the Associated Press.

Currently, when a person seeks a License to Carry a handgun they must provide fingerprints to the Texas Department of Public Safety, go through a criminal history background check and take an LTC course, according to DPS.

The legislation’s fate had been unclear in the Senate, after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said it didn’t have the votes to pass. The bill next heads back to the House where changes made in the Senate will either be accepted or worked out in a conference committee.

“Once the Senate passes it out, the House and Senate will convene and work out any differences and get it to my desk,” Abbott previously told WBAP’s Rick Roberts. “And I’ll be signing it.”

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