Lawmakers in the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee voted to advance House Bill 1911, which would allow gun owners age 21 or older to carry without a permit.

Rep. James White, R - Hillister, who authored the bill, said his legislation reinforces constitutional rights.

"I believe that they should be able to exercise their full constitutional right to carry their weapons in the appropriate manner," White said.

While the bill would remove the permit requirement, White said there are still some other restrictions.

"We do have provisions that will require people to be 21 years of mentally competent and to be able to legally possess a firearm under current and federal guidelines."

Rep. Matt Schaefer, R- Tyler, was among those who voted for the bill and said it's a step in the right direction.

"This bill does not represent the idea of constitutional carry as we had hoped. But it does move the issue forward," Schaefer said, "Texas lags behind and we're really just trying to catch up to other parts of the country when it comes to freedom under the Second Amendment."

While the bill would not eliminate the state's license to carry program, according to the Legislative Budget Board, applications for license and renewal to carry could decline, costing the state more than $37 million.

Safety is also a concern for individuals like Robert Parham, a combat weapons instructor for Fortis Defense LLC in Gilmer. He said there is more to the issue than the average person would think.

"We get a lot of people that come through the class that, you know, if they were just to pick up a weapon and carry it out on their own without knowing what the rules, regulations and the safety side of it. That's pretty scary," Parham said.

However, despite concerns, lawmakers in favor of the bill argue that it would provide a practical solution for gun owners in the state that are currently able to carry just about anywhere they go.