New Texas law allowing people to carry handguns without permits stirs mix of fear, concern among law enforcement

New Texas law allowing people to carry handguns without permits stirs mix of fear, concern among law enforcement

Sign up for The Brief , our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news. A new state law will soon let most Texans carry handguns in public without going through training or having to get permits. Gov. Greg Abbott lauded the so-called “constitutional carry” legislation and other firearms bills when he signed them into law. “You could say that I signed into law today some laws that protect gun rights,” Abbott said at the bill signing in June. “But today, I signed documents that instilled freedom in the Lone Star State.” But some Texas law enforcement officers fear that removing restrictions to carrying handguns could increase crime rates while putting officers and residents in danger. “When it comes down to it, it’s just a sense of disappointment that the bill ultimately was passed,” said Kevin Lawrence, executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association. Conservative activists have long pushed for a permitless carry law in Texas, but such measures got little traction in the previous three legislative sessions. In 2019, a permitless carry bill didn’t even get a committee hearing in the Texas House. When lawmakers gaveled in for the 2021 regular legislative session in January — the first since back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso and Midland-Odessa — some legislators expected to pass substantive firearm restrictions . After all, Abbott had proposed several policies to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not possess them. Lt. Gov. Dan […]

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