AUSTIN, Texas - On Thursday, state lawmakers will discuss whether to adopt constitutional carry in Texas. If passed, Texans would be able to carry a handgun without a license.
Constitutional carry is not anything new. In fact, this bill has reappeared at every legislative session for the past 10 years. In years past, it is shot down immediately, but for the first time, it is scheduled for a public hearing.
This topic has caused some contention on whether or not it should be adopted. According to the Texas GOP's website, anyone who legally owns a handgun should be able to carry it with no strings attached.
"I think it will decrease gun violence. Keep in mind that most gun violence happens in areas with strict gun control on the books. For example, Chicago, Illinois, that's one of the places with the harshest gun laws on the books in the United States and they have more shooting per capita. I think in Texas, we could also prove that wrong with a given shot," said Andy Hogue, communications director for the Travis County GOP.
Vermont was the first state to pass constitutional carry for handguns, and more than two dozen states have followed suit. "I think that's enough to prove that if Texas goes ahead with it, then it won't be the end of the world," said Hogue.
Texas Gun Sense, a nonprofit looking to curb gun violence, is highly against passing constitutional carry.
"It dismantles the state's existing system for licensing and training for those who wish to carry a handgun either openly or concealed," said Ed Scruggs with Texas Gun Sense.
Scruggs also says the idea of constitutional carry here in Texas couldn't come at a worse time because of the recent uptick in gun violence the state is seeing. "Gun violence is rising, there is an overwhelming number of firearms in circulation around the country coming off the record sales of the past 18 months, so guns are easier to obtain anyway so why do you want to make them even easier to carry?"
Lawmakers will decide whether or not to put the bill up for a vote Thursday.