Texas Moves to Drop Majority of Handgun Licensing Requirements

Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign a wide-ranging law that will throw much gun regulation out the window, allowing virtually anyone over the age of 21 to carry a handgun, no permit required. The landmark bill would make Texas the largest among 20 other states to adopt a “constitutional carry” law that basically eliminates most restrictions on the ability to carry handguns, reports the New York Times . Gun rights advocates say the adoption of so far-reaching a law in Texas, long considered a bellwether of gun rights legislation, could encourage similar conservative legislation in other states. Critics, including some senior law enforcement officers, call the new legislation a dangerous retreat from gun control amid a recent surge in violence, particularly in a state with a long and painfully recent history of mass shootings. While Texas already has some of the least-restrictive gun laws in the nation, it has thus far maintained certain strict licensing standards for handguns, including requirements for a four- to six-hour training course, a written exam and a shooting proficiency demonstration, all of which will be eliminated if the governor signs the new legislation into law. The new legislation extends the permissions available to carriers of rifles to handguns. It also removes the requirement that handguns be kept in a belt or a shoulder harness, but they must be in a holster. People with criminal histories that would bar them from owning a handgun under federal law would still be barred from carrying a […]

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