The Lege This Week: Instead of Addressing Mass Shootings, Lawmakers Expand Gun Rights

The Lege This Week: Instead of Addressing Mass Shootings, Lawmakers Expand Gun Rights

Despite its reputation as a haven for gun owners, Texas lawmakers have long hesitated to embrace constitutional carry legislation. Welcome to the 87th Legislative Session. Since the last session came to a close in June 2019, Texas has been hit by an unrestrained pandemic and a crippling economic crisis—and now the fallout from deadly blackouts. Under unprecedented circumstances, lawmakers are faced with a number of urgent challenges . The Texas Observer is following along every step of the way. Go here for last week’s dispatch from the state Capitol. What We’re Following: Permitless Carry After several hours of debate on the floor, the Texas House passed legislation that would allow almost anyone to carry handguns without a permit. House Bill 1927 , authored by Tyler Republican Matt Schaefer, would permit all Texans over the age of 21 to carry a handgun—openly or concealed—so long as they are not otherwise prohibited from doing so under current state or federal law. While the bill would exempt members of a “criminal street gang,” Republicans voted down Democrats’ amendments that would also ban domestic terrorists and white supremacists from carrying unlicensed handguns. The controversial measure—known as “constitutional carry” among gun-rights advocates— passed on a 84-56 vote Thursday. The House passage of permitless carry comes less than one week after a mass shooting in Bryan that killed one person and wounded five, the latest mass shooting in a state where mass gun violence has been increasingly common. Despite its reputation as a haven for […]

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