Texans may soon be able to carry a handgun without a license. In a press conference held at the capitol today, state representatives pushed for House Bill 375 – The Texas Constitutional Act of 2017.
If the bill is passed, constitutional carry would be enacted, meaning a person who is not legally prohibited from owning or purchasing a firearm could openly carry a handgun without a license.
The Lone Star Gun Rights and Texans for Accountable Government lead the meeting.
State Representative Jonathan Stickland, a republican from Bedford, wrote the bill. He pushed for constitutional carry back in 2015 - the same year open carry passed the legislation.
He said it is time to remove the state-issued license to carry because he said it goes against a person’s Second Amendment rights.
"It's wrong that Texans have to beg for their Second Amendment rights. It's wrong that we're forcing people to take a class for their Second Amendment rights," Stickland said in a news conference.
There are 11 other states allowing constitutional carry. Right now, Texas is a conceal and carry state.
"You have to pay that fee, and you have to get permission from the state," said Michael Cargill, Executive Director of Texans for Accountable Government.
With constitutional carry, there is no state requirement to get any type.
"As long as you can walk into a gun store and pass a background check, you can legally carry a gun," said Cargill.
Michael Cargill explained that long guns have been legal since the 1800's. Those backing this bill are pushing for hand guns to join the list.
"I can walk down the streets of Austin Texas with an AR-15 that's loaded, but I cannot walk down the same street with a hand gun unless I have a hand gun license,” Cargill said.
Smith County GOP Chairman Brent Thompson said with or without the requirement for a state-issued license, basic gun safety knowledge would not be impacted.
He said the test is fairly simple.
"The basic questions that are already on the application really aren't that sophisticated,” Thompson said. “It's a very basic test that doesn't require a great deal of study."
Thompson said those serious about purchasing a gun should do their homework, with or without a requirement to do so, because he said that is being a responsible gun owner.
Representative from both organizations said the bill is not partisan. Cargill said Texans should not have to pay to exercise their second amendment right.
"We need to make sure we take care of those who can't afford that tax and that can't afford that fee," he said.