In January, Texas residents had to get used to new laws allowing concealed carry for the first time in the state. Now, a Texas House committee has approved legislation that would allow concealed and open carry, without a permit.
According to this story from mystatesman.com, the bill, somewhat appropriately named House Bill 1911 written by Rep. James White (R), was approved with a 6-2 party-line vote by the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee.
“I’m voting for it, and I’m proud to do so,” said state Rep. John Wray (R) in the story. “It’s the first bill to be voted on in the Texas House to allow permitless carry of a handgun.”
Wray said the bill will likely get a few amendments before it hits the floor of the state legislature, and that this version of HB 1911 contained several changes from the version that drew extensive public testimony three weeks ago, the story says.
According to the present bill, to carry without a permit in Texas, a gun owner would have to meet the same standards needed to obtain a license to carry, which is generally available to those over 21 years of age with no criminal convictions and are eligible to purchase a weapon under federal and state laws. An earlier version would have allowed permitless carry for those 18 years and older.
The bill would allow carry in churches and places of worship, which are currently gun-free zones, though sites can still ban guns and post signs if they choose.
Openly carried handguns would still be required to carried in a holster, but methods of allowed carry would be expanded beyond the current shoulder or belt holster, presumably to allow for drop-leg platform holsters.
The story says HB 1911 would not effect the state’s current campus carry law passed in 2015 that allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons in most areas of public university and college campuses.
Another bill allowing permitless carry in Texas, HB 375, was not voted on by the committee because was waiting for a revised version, the story says.
“We understand that for the most part Texans are satisfied with the current carry laws we have now. However, there is still a significant number of Texans who believe that if you’re a law-abiding citizen, you shouldn’t necessarily have to buy your way to a right to bear arms through a license,” White told the American-Statesman. “This should not technically change the population of people, the character of the population of people that are carrying.”