Open carry is one step closer to reality for those in the Lone Star State. Late this evening the Senate passed SB17, a bill which would allow people to openly carry a loaded firearm either in a shoulder or belt holster. Opponents of the bill tried to make the legislation into a veritable Christmas tree by trying to hang amendments on it wherever they could, from an amendment delaying its implementation until 2016 to one that would drastically alter the size and shape of the 30.06 / 30.07 “No Guns” signs. However, it looks like only two amendments passed, one of which includes retention training in the required training course for handgun licenses in Texas.
The bill will now be forwarded to the Texas House of Representatives, where it is also expected to pass without much ado. The next hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning, March 17th at 8 AM in front of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee in room E2.014 at the Texas Capitol. When it passes out of that committee (note: when, not if) it will go before the full House for a vote where the votes are expected to pretty much break down on party lines. Thankfully the House is comprised of 98 Republicans and 52 Democrats, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
If all goes well, we should have open carry by the end of the year here in Texas. Get your barbeque guns ready!