Texas Senate Approves Open Carry Bill

photo from breitbart.com

Texans could be carrying their handguns on their hips, plain as day, by the beginning of 2016, now that the state Senate has approved House Bill 910. If it becomes law, the bill will allow licensed gun owners to carry a handgun openly in a shoulder or hip holster.

Though the Lone Star State currently allows citizens to openly carry rifles and shotguns, it's one of six states that has an outright ban on open carry for handguns. There are about 850,000 concealed handgun license holders in Texas.

The next step for HB 910 is the state House for approval, and then on to Gov. Greg Abbott. According to this story on Breitbart News, Abbott has made it clear he intends to sign the bill when it hits his desk.

Concealed carry has been legal in Texas since 1995, but open carry has been banned for the past 140 years as a result of a post-Civil War prohibition meant to disarm former Confederate soldiers and freed slaves, according to CBS.

State Sen. Don Huffines added an amendment to the bill that "protects law-abiding gun owners for unreasonable searches by police" by not allowing police officers to randomly stop open carriers to check their license.

According to this Austin Business Journal story, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he is confident lawmakers in the House will add a "campus carry" amendment to the bill, allowing open carry of handguns on university grounds. However, the bill and all amendments will be up for debate on the floor of the state House.