Texas Senate approves constitutional carry bill
AUSTIN, Texas - Constitutional carry is one step closer to become law after the Texas Senate approved House Bill 1927. The bill will now go to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for final approval.
After more than eight hours of debate, HB 1927 was approved on the Senate floor 18-13.
"This bill, to me, is a restoration of the belief in and trust of our citizens," said state Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown).
If constitutional carry is signed by Abbott, it will allow Texans over the age of 21 to carry handguns, if they're not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun, openly or concealed without a license.
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However, not everyone on the Senate floor wanted it to get this far. "This bill is not, in my opinion, a form of justice or liberty. Actually, it practically gives anyone an ability to carry, which in my opinion makes it irresponsible and creates a path for more gun violence," said state Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio).
State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin) questioned the bill during discussion by asking how would law enforcement officials and citizens be able to distinguish who is carrying lawfully.
Schwertner replied, "Citizens need to be trusted. Do we believe people and our fellow man or should we assume them guilty until proven innocent?"
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In a FOX 7 Austin Twitter poll, a majority of those who voted said they do not support constitutional carry, a broad point that was brought up several times on the Senate floor.
"[There are] 830,000 gun owners in this state, less than three and a half percent of the population of Texas. I'll tell you, if that isn't the tail wagging the dog and I don't know what is," said state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio)
Now that it's approved, constitutional carry is one step closer to becoming law. Abbott has said twice that he would sign the bill if it landed on his desk.
"For me, this is about two things: the advancement of self defense and a belief in and trust of law abiding citizens to avail themselves of their second amendment right," said Sen. Schwertner.