Move to expand gun carry nears approval in State Senate

The Herald Banner, Greenville, Texas
·2 min read

Apr. 17—Texas moved one step closer this week toward allowing residents to carry handguns without a license. On Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives approved a bill that allows the carrying of handguns for just about everyone — with some notable exceptions.

Rep. Bryan Slaton, who represents District 2 in the House, took to Facebook to celebrate the legislative victory. Slaton, who helped write House Bill 1927, said that it was an important victory for Texans.

"I'm just happy and thrilled because I know that you are," said the Royse City Republican during the one-minute Facebook video. Slaton was wearing lapel pins of assault rifles during his online statement.

Texas would become the 21st state in the country to approve "constitutional carry" if the Senate approved the bill on Friday — it is likely. The bill has also been backed by Gov. Greg Abbott, who has both spoken out against President Joe Biden's attempt to present some gun restrictions through executive action. Abbott has advocated that Texas become a Second Amendment sanctuary state.

It's unclear how the bill would move through the Senate, especially in the wake of opposition from police groups, who argue the bill makes their jobs harder.

While the bill would allow Texas residents to carry their handguns with a license, but there are many places still where there would be restrictions, including in restaurants and schools. The bill passed the House mostly along partisan lines 84-56. There were eight Democrats that joined the Republicans to vote for the bill.

The bill faced strong opposition from Democrats from El Paso, who spoke out in the wake of a mass shooting at a Walmart that left 23 dead in 2019.

This was a major legislative issue for Republicans and the Texas GOP issues talking points, sample letters to the editor and social media posts to advance the cause. Just some of them included:

—Texas, unlike a majority of the states, requires a permit for legally-owned handguns to be carried outside of limited areas such as one's home and vehicle.

—Criminals do not follow the law. The permit requirement disarms their victims.

—Based on evidence from other states, a permit requirement does not make people safer.