Over the opposition of law enforcement and a solid majority of Texans, the state is about to allow almost anyone to walk around with a handgun, whether they know how to use it or not.
Current Texas law requires licenses to carry both open and concealed handguns. “Applicants must submit fingerprints, complete four to six hours of training and pass a written exam and a shooting proficiency test,” the Texas Tribune explains.
Apparently, that’s too much of an infringement on (white) Republicans’ freedom – and the heck with the public and the police. The Tribune quotes this guy:
“This bill, to me, is a restoration of the belief in and trust of our citizens,” said state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, who is carrying the legislation in the upper chamber. “We cannot allow another session to come and go where we pay lip service for the Second Amendment by failing to fully restore and protect the rights of citizens granted by the Constitution.”
“The [licensing] requirement is what is being set aside; the obligation on the part of the citizen who owns a potentially dangerous weapon to understand gun laws, to become proficient in their handling of their gun, is not absolved,” Schwertner said.
You probably won’t be surprised to know that “pro-life” Schwertner doesn’t have the same “belief in and trust of” pregnant women. He doesn’t have the same deep concern for protecting the right to vote, either.
You probably also won’t be surprised to know that Schwertner is white. How many Black people in Texas do you think will be openly carrying handguns after the law is enacted?
What makes this even worse is that a recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found 59% of Texas voters oppose unlicensed carry, almost half (46%) would make gun laws stricter, and three-fourths believe the state should require criminal and mental background checks before any gun sales, including those at gun shows and private transactions.
Police chiefs oppose the legislation, too.
According to the Tribune, at least 20 other states have similar laws.
There are some restrictions on handgun carrying in the bill. “Lawmakers approved an amendment barring permitless carry from people convicted in the past five years of making a terroristic threat, deadly conduct, assault that causes bodily injury or disorderly conduct with a firearm,” The Tribune reported. Also, the law only applies to those not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who is up for re-election next year, has said he will sign the legislation.