Before Reconstruction, Texas had the strongest right to bear arms amendment of any state in the United States. Even slaves had the right to keep and bear arms, as affirmed by the Texas Supreme Court in 1859. (The decision was Cockrum v. State.) (added) An expanded explanation of this is given in Stephen Halbrook’s article on The Right to Bear Arms in Texas, Section II C. And then things went seriously south; the legislature effectively banned both open and concealed carry for a hundred and thirty years.
The Texas Legislature only restored partial open carry rights last year. The fee for a License to Carry — required for open or concealed carry — is $140. That’s quite a whack, putting gun rights out of the reach for the state’s less economically fortunate residents. State Representative Jonathan Stickland wants to change that. From caller.com:
“It’s time in Texas to restore our Second Amendment rights to their originally intended level,” said state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, a Fort Worth-area Republican who last year spearheaded the successful open-carry bill.
This time, Stickland is the chief author of legislation supporters call “constitutional carry.” Unlike the open-carry bill, the new measure does not require a license — or the passing of a gun-safety test and the payment of a $140 fee for the license — to allow a handgun to be carried either openly or concealed.
If Texas enacts Constitutional Carry, Texas won’t be breaking new ground. Eleven other states already have permit less carry — without the predicted “blood in the streets.” Four states passed Constitutional carry last year: Idaho, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Missouri. Several other states are considering removing infringements on the carry of arms in 2017.
Stickland, who begins his third two-year term when the Legislature convenes January 10, pushed hard for a similar bill in 2015. Lawmakers were unwilling to go that far. This year, Stickland has a well-placed ally for at least addressing the license fee: Lt. Governor Daniel Patrick. While Patrick’s not ready to make the leap to permitless carry, he’s pushing to reduce the fee for the Texas License to Carry.
“Texas has one of the highest license-to-carry fees in the country,” Patrick said. “No Texan should be deprived of their right to self-protection because of onerous licensing fees imposed by the state.”
Constitutional carry may not pass, but the Texas legislature is bound to reduce the license fee. John “More Guns Less Crime” Lott has concluded that the more a permit costs the lower the number of people who get one. It’s not a great leap to think that the more people who have a Texas License to Carry the greater the support for Constitutional Carry. We shall see.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch