the more controversial bills passed by the Texas Legislature this year is the “permitless carry” bill, which allows Texans to carry handguns without a license.
One of the more controversial bills passed by the Texas Legislature this year is the “permitless carry” bill, which allows Texans to carry handguns without a license.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The awkward wording of this provision has produced two centuries of debate on how it should be applied and what limitations are appropriate.
Texas law on carrying guns has changed dramatically in recent years. Before 1995, Texans who were not licensed peace officers were generally prohibited from carrying weapons in most circumstances. In 1995, Texas passed the “concealed carry” law, allowing Texans to carry a concealed handgun by obtaining a permit which required passing a criminal background check and completing a 4-hour gun safety and marksmanship class. Beginning in 2016, the “open carry” law allowed Texans with a permit to carry a firearm without concealing it.
Last year, legislators passed H.B. 1927 (Links to an external site.), which allows Texans to carry weapons – concealed or not – without a permit of any kind. There are some restrictions. To carry a firearm, you must be at least 21 years old, not drunk, and have never been convicted of a felony or of certain serious misdemeanors. Property owners have some ability to prohibit the carrying of firearms on their property.
The politics behind this were interesting. An unusual partnership between gun control advocates and law enforcement officers opposed the bill. Conservatives were caught between their pro-gun constituents and their “back the blue” pro law enforcement constituents – two important groups for Republican legislators worried about being reelected. Ultimately, the bill passed with certain concessions to law enforcement groups. Given the facts of the most recent school shooting in Uvalde, this law probably would not have made any difference, but the general tone of the law on firearms has come under great scrutiny, and will certainly be an issue in the fall election.
Write our usual 2 – 5 page essay about this bill. What are the advantages and disadvantages? Talk about what ultimately happened to the bill? If you had been in the Texas Legislature, how would you have voted and why?
Submit in Word. Cite your sources.
Here’s the bill: https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=HB1927 (Links to an external site.)
Coverage from the Texas Tribune: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/05/24/texas-constitutional-carry-permitless-guns-legislature/ (Links to an external site.) CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/25/politics/texas-passes-permitless-gun-carry/index.html (Links to an external site.) Dallas Morning News: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2021/05/30/permitless-carry-of-handguns-is-on-the-verge-of-becoming-law-in-texas-six-things-you-need-to-know/ (Links to an external site.)
Law Enforcement groups had concerns: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/25/police-do-not-support-texas-constitutional-carry-bill-police-chief-says.html
H.B. 1927: https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=HB1927