Texas is poised to allow the “open carry” of handguns, after the House voted 96-35 on Friday, for legislation which would allow licensed gun owners to openly carry handguns in shoulder or belt holsters. Since the Senate passed a similar bill last month, the differences between the two will be smoothed out before landing on the desk of Governor Greg Abbott, who has indicated that he will support any legislation that expands Second Amendment rights.
Terry Holcomb, Sr., the executive director of Texas Carry, a gun rights group, shared his opinion with Fox News.
“We are seeing historic progress in Texas.”
Although the approval of the open carry legislation will be seen as a win for gun-rights activists, there is opposition from Democrats and leaders in law enforcement. They have suggested amendments to limit open carry which have been repeatedly rejected by the GOP majority.
Rep. Allen Fletcher, a Republican from Cypress, commented in Marketwatch.
“The most dangerous place in the country is a gun-free zone.”
The final vote next week could usher in the most marked change in Texas firearms regulations in 20 years, adding Texas to the 44 other states that allow open carry of handguns in some form. Supporters for the legislation are vocal in their support for what they consider a long overdue upholding of constitutional rights.
It is indicative of the times to note that open-carry legislation has never made it out of a Texas legislative committee before this year, and that gun-rights groups are calling for further legislation to allow some college students and university employees to carry concealed handguns while on campus. A campus-carry measure was approved by the Texas Senate last month, and it is expected that similar legislation will be passed by the House with support from the Governor as well.
The open carry bill will allow residents with a concealed handgun license to openly carry a handgun in a shoulder or belt holster starting in 2016. To obtain this license requires passing a background check, completing four to six hours of classroom training, passing physical and written tests, and paying a $140 fee.
Open carry would not be allowed where concealed carry is barred, such as schools, bars, sporting events and businesses that post “no guns” signs. Open carry would still be barred from university buildings even if supporters of campus-carry succeed in passing that bill.
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