State Lawmakers fight for unlicensed carry of guns

State lawmakers say Texans shouldn't have to take a class and pay fees in order to carry a gun. They are pushing for what they call constitutional carry.

"It's wrong that Texans have to beg for permission for their second amendment rights. It's wrong we're forcing people to take a class and pay a fee for their second amendment rights,” said State Representative Jonathan Stickland.

With gun rights advocates by his side, State Representative Jonathan Stickland explained why he feels removing the requirement for a license to carry a firearm should be a top priority this session.

He says by filing house bill 375-- he is standing up for the people who can't afford to pay the nearly $300 dollars worth of fees currently required to purchase a gun.

Under the bill, if you fill out a federal form, pass a background check and are of age you can buy a gun.

"We've been working on this issue for the past couple years seeing folks coming out of the woodworks saying ‘I live in a bad part of town I don't make a lot of money I would love for the ability to carry… to take my own personal responsibility for my safety for my family.’ Those are the people getting hurt by that. And those are the conversations that are really propelling this to the front of the line,” said Stickland.

One of his supporters is a former 30-year law enforcement officer-- State Representative Mike Lang of Granbury.

"I want my wife and my son able to carry when I'm not there,” he said.

Two weeks ago Texas Gun Sense supporters met with lawmakers pushing for what they call common sense policies that will reduce gun injuries and deaths--promoting safe storage of weapons and strengthening background checks.

They said unlicensed carry is dangerous.

"It hurts business owners and it's certainly going to decrease public safety,” said Andrea Brauer, Texas Gun Sense.

"If I were selling cars you would want me to make sure anyone buying a car would have license to operate a car,” said Johnny Wade, gun store owner.

Stickland says it's going to have the opposite effect.

"We believe that an armed society is a safe society and we think that this is one of the best measures we can pass to improve public safety in the State of Texas,” said Stickland.

If passed, Texas would become the 11th state to have unlicensed or constitutional carry.

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