(USA Features) Texans otherwise not legally prohibited from having a firearm will be able to carry a gun without having to first obtain a permit under a new measure passed by the state legislature.
The so-called “constitutional carry” bill is expected to be signed into law by GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, and would take effect Sept. 1.
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“We should have ‘constitutional carry’ in Texas,” Abbott said last month, according to The Texas Tribune.
The state House initially passed a version that was later tweaked by the Senate. The final negotiated version was passed after differences were ironed out on Monday.
“This is a simple restoration of Texans’ constitutional right under the Second Amendment, a right of the people to keep and bear arms,” Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner said Monday on the House floor.
“I think it is a bill that is the strongest bill I’ve seen in my legislative career regarding the rights of our Second Amendment,” he added.
Under current Texas law, anyone who wants to carry a gun concealed has to first obtain a permit. But under the new measure, anyone over 21 who can legally own a firearm can carry one without having to obtain state permission.
“The House was very proud of the version of the bill that we sent over and the Senate was very proud of the amendments that they added,” Republican state Rep. Matt Schaefer noted.
“We felt like some of the protections for law-abiding citizens were diminished in the Senate version, and so we fought to get some of that back,” he said, noting further that the bill is “no doubt is the strongest restoration of Second Amendment rights that any of us have ever seen in the history of the state of Texas.”
Some prohibitions include barring Texans from carrying a gun into a business or location that specifically bars the act. Also, Texans are not allowed to carry a gun while intoxicated.