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GOP Pushing Dangerous Permitless Gun Carry Legislation in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas — Mere hours after an individual with “a lot of ammunition and a big handgun” began firing indiscriminately at people outside the San Antonio International Airport, Texas Republicans advanced a new law that would make it dangerously easy for anyone to carry a handgun in public. 

On Thursday, Texas Republicans brought House Bill 1927 for a vote on the floor in hopes of removing all requirements, other than a basic background check (which aren’t even required in the case of private gun sales), for people to carry a handgun in Texas. The bill passed 84-56 and is expected to go for a final House vote following a third reading Friday.

Currently, anyone who wishes to carry a handgun openly or concealed in Texas must first apply and participate in the Handgun Licensing Program administered by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). DPS evaluates the eligibility of applicants based on criminal history background checks and monitors currently-licensed individuals to ensure their continued eligibility. New applicants must complete four to six hours of online training, pass a written exam and complete a shooting safety and proficiency test. HB 1911 removes all of those requirements.

Licensed handgun instructors and police associations from across Texas voiced opposition against a similar bill, HB 1911, in Austin Tuesday, stating that the legislation would make their work harder and more dangerous. 

“At least with a license to carry permit, citizens must demonstrate basic knowledge and an awareness of the laws, and the course teaches how to de-escalate to forgo the use of the firearm to begin with,” said San Marcos Police Chief Stan Standridge, speaking on behalf of the Texas Police Chiefs Association. “We believe it is irresponsible to let anyone who’s over the age of 21 carry a firearm without some sort of training, firearms knowledge, and proficiency and knowledge of the laws that regulate prohibited places. We oppose House Bill 1911.”

The author of HB 1927, state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, who once sponsored a white supremacist event at the state capitol (later claiming he was misled), joined other House Republicans in voting against amendments to the bill offered by state Reps. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, and Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio, that would have stopped white supremacists and insurrectionists from carrying a handgun without a permit.

 

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa issued a statement:

“Republicans are endangering Texans as they continue to play politics at the cost of our lives. A massive coalition of Texans is speaking out against permitless carry — including police officers and handgun instructors — because they know that the current requirements for gun safety courses and live-fire training save lives, and eliminating them will lead to more injuries and deaths in our communities. This type of legislation is not only incredibly irresponsible, but it is yet another reminder that Republicans care more about NRA donations and gun manufacturers’ profits than they do about our lives.”

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