Texas Republicans have long pushed to allow “constitutional carry” of guns. Proponents say this year is their best chance.

Texas Republicans have long pushed to allow “constitutional carry” of guns. Proponents say this year is their best chance.

Sign up for The Brief , our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news. Texas Republicans have long taken pride in the state’s reputation as a bastion for gun ownership — but time and again they’ve stopped short of passing a law allowing handguns to be carried without a permit. This year, however, proponents of what Republicans call “constitutional carry” say they have the best shot in the Legislature they’ve had in years. The momentum follows a shake-up in House leadership, who handed influential positions to supporters of the legislation, and comes as the practice is gaining traction in statehouses across the country. Meanwhile, gun control advocates are sounding the alarm about making it easier to carry firearms on the heels of three recent mass shootings out of state — and two in Texas in 2019 . “We are so close to making Texas a Constitutional Carry state,” Allen West, chair of the state Republican party, wrote in a March 10 fundraising email, three weeks before the legislation cleared its first committee of the session on April 1. Under current state law, Texans must generally be licensed to carry handguns openly or concealed. Applicants must submit fingerprints, complete four to six hours of training and pass a written exam and a shooting proficiency test. Texas does not require a license to openly carry a rifle in public. At least 18 states allow some form of permitless carry, and lawmakers in a handful […]

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