Texas is already an open-carry state. Now lawmakers are trying to make it possible for you to carry your gun without the need for a permit.
The state House Of Representatives on Thursday (April 15) passed HB 1927 by an 87-58 vote, nixing the requirement for Texas residents to obtain a license to carry handguns if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun. Current state law requires individuals 21 or older to be licensed to carry handguns, whether concealed or openly. The move by the House is seen as a victory for gun rights activists and a blow to Dems, particularly El Paso Democrats who’ve fought for gun safety measures since the 2019 Walmart massacre which claimed the lives of 23 people.
“This bill should be called common-sense carry,” state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler said. Among the voters for the bill were seven Democrats, including Harold Dutton of Houston. One Republican voted against the bill.
El Paso rep Joe Moody, who was joined by other lawmakers from El Paso, urged lawmakers to do something and how in the two years since the Walmart massacre, nothing had been done to help protect citizens.
“After those shootings … there were roundtable discussions and stakeholder meetings and a lot of promises — and I was hopeful, members, even knowing the political realities, I was hopeful,” Moody said. “Members, I’m so tired of doing nothing. … When are we going to do something?”
He added, “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.”
Moody’s proposal to change the bill failed by a vote of 63 for and 79 against. Numerous other requests to change the bill, mostly proposed by Democrats, also failed. One proposal, brought to the floor by Rep. Diego Bernal of San Antonio and Rep. Rafael Anchía of Dallas even attempted to “bar domestic terrorists” or “violent white supremacist extremists” from carrying a handgun without a permit.
“I think it’s always the right time to be talking about denouncing white supremacists and preventing guns from falling into their hands,” Anchía said. The proposed amendment failed.
Now the bill moves on to the Texas Senate, where if it passes there will wind up on Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in 2019 the chamber lacked the votes necessary to pass permitless carry and defended the need for background checks before sales between strangers.