No permit required: 'Constitutional Carry' of handguns back at Legislature

During the 84th Legislative session, firearms were the talk of the town.
Texas ended up with laws that allow for the open carry of handguns and the concealed carry of handguns into college classrooms.
Gun advocate and handgun license instructor Michael Cargill says the violence predicted by the gun control side hasn't happened.

"They started that back in 1995 and then here we are in 2016.  We've had open carry and campus carry...with all the stuff with campus carry, none of their fears have come true," Cargill said.

"The truth is gun owners in Texas are not flashy.  They just want to be able to protect themselves and their families and their loved ones and not have to depend on someone else to do that," said Republican State Rep. Jonathan Stickland. 

Stickland has filed his signature "Constitutional Carry" bill again.

"This is meant to restore the constitutional rights of Texans to be able to carry a firearm without being forced to take a government-mandated test and pay a fee," Stickland said.

Stickland says last session, house leadership never let it come to a vote and ended up supporting the open carry bill instead which Stickland also supported.

Cargill says basically if you're legally able to posses a gun, you can carry it openly or concealed, no permit required.

You might think that would hurt Cargill's business since he teaches handgun license courses.  He says he's not worried.

"There are other states that have gotten Constitutional Carry where their handgun license program still flourishes and people still get the handgun license because they want to travel outside of the state," Cargill said.

And he says there's value in doing the coursework.

"If something happens and you didn't know what the law was, you're going to go to jail and it's going to be your fault," he said.

Kathleen Loughlin is a mother of two girls.  She's a volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.  She says the organization hopes lawmakers will focus on gun laws that will keep firearms out of the hands of children and criminals.

"There are so many other issues that are facing Texas right now and it doesn't make any sense for our legislature to focus on a bill, permit-less carry, that will make our neighborhoods less safe," Loughlin said.

"I think it's a good thing for families.  Especially folks in lower income areas and women to be able to protect themselves without having to pay a fine or a fee," Stickland said.

Representative Stickland says he's hoping to get support from fellow legislators and get the bill referred to committee.
He thinks the push for constitutional carry will be even bigger than the push for open carry.