A pair of bills by state Reps. James White and Matt Schaefer would eliminate the requirement for Texans to obtain a license to carry handguns — either openly or concealed — so long as they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun.
“It’s important we keep allowing as many citizens [as possible] to be able to protect themselves, because if you can’t carry your firearm with you, then how can you protect yourself?” said state Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, whose permitless carry bill, backed by the state Republican party, was left pending in committee last week.
Gun control advocates have fought against permitless carry efforts in past years, worried about increased violence and undermining what they say is a strong state permitting system. The debate became more urgent after recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado, which moved Abbott and other Texas Republicans to double down on protecting gun owners as President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats renewed calls for stronger gun laws. …
“[Constitutional carry] has less of a chance of passing than bills that are on the governor’s list,” said state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, who is pushing the measure in the upper chamber. “I just don’t think this is the year for it. … To even get a hearing would be a step forward.”