A Texas lawmaker has introduced an open carry bill on the first day that lawmakers were able to file bills for the upcoming legislative session.
With the recent election of Greg Abbott to the office of Texas governor and the Republican victories that swept not only Texas, but the nation, it would seem that the stage is set for Texas to expand their carry laws this year.
Despite the pro-gun sentiment expressed by the Lone Star State, Texas actually has somewhat restrictive gun laws compared to other states in the country. Texas currently has no open carry of handguns, a permit is required for concealed carry, and that permit requires training in order to receive.
Compare that to say Arizona, which has true constitutional carry (no permit required for open or concealed carry), the dozens of states that allow unlicensed open carry, or states that require a permit, but make it very easy to get. For instance, Georgia requires a permit for both open and concealed carry, but there is no training requirement and the permits are usually issued in just a couple of weeks in most counties. There are other states, such as Florida, which do have training requirements, but they can be satisfied with proof of completion of a hunter’s safety or gun safety course, something many Americans have already completed. When put into perspective with these states, Texas seems to be behind the gun rights curve.
However, last week, in a post election interview Abbott spoke specifically about open carry. He said he would sign any OC bill that reached his desk into law. The only question we had was whether the legislature would get it passed and if it would be licensed or unlicensed open carry.
Now we may have part of the answer. Rep Daniel Flynn (R) has filed a bill that essentially adds open carry to the state’s existing carry laws. This means you still need a permit, still need the training, etc.
The question is now, will gun rights supporters support this measure or will they insist on unlicensed open carry, or even outright constitutional carry? The fact that this bill has been filed is significant either way. Even if it doesn’t get support from the gun community, and another bill is filed, that means that Texas will see competing “pro-gun” bills, which could hurt the chances of any pro-gun bills getting passed.
With Texas having an overwhelming Republican majority in the legislature, and a seemingly very pro-gun governor, will Texas finally get their gun laws in line with the state’s gun rights sentiment?