img
Texas set to allow people to carry handguns without a license – or training

Texas set to allow people to carry handguns without a license – or training

May 24, 2021
Click here to view original web page at www.theguardian.com

Texas is poised to remove one of its last major gun restrictions – despite widespread objections – after lawmakers approved a bill that would allow people to carry handguns without a license, and the background check and training that go with it. The state’s Republican-dominated legislature approved the measure […]

Click here to view original web page at www.theguardian.com


Texas is poised to remove one of its last major gun restrictions – despite widespread objections – after lawmakers approved a bill that would allow people to carry handguns without a license, and the background check and training that go with it.

The state’s Republican-dominated legislature approved the measure Monday, sending it to the governor, Greg Abbott, who has said he will sign it despite objections.

The measure is opposed by law enforcement groups, who say it would endanger the public and police. Gun control groups also oppose the measure, noting the state’s recent history of mass shootings, including those at an El Paso Walmart, a church in Sutherland Springs, and a high school outside Houston.

Texas already has some of the loosest gun laws in the country and has more than 1.6 million handgun license holders.

Supporters of the bill say it would allow Texans to better defend themselves in public while abolishing unnecessary impediments to the constitutional right to bear arms.

Once signed into law, Texas will join nearly two dozen other states that allow some form of unregulated carry of a handgun, and will by far be the most populous.

The National Rifle Association was among those supporting the measure, and a spokesperson called it the “most significant” gun-rights measure in the state’s history.

“A right requiring you to pay a tax or obtain a government permission slip is not a right at all,” said Jason Ouimet, the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

Texas already allows rifles to be carried in public without a license. The measure sent to Abbott would allow anyone age 21 or older to carry a handgun as long as they don’t have felony criminal convictions or some other legal prohibition in their background.

But without the state background check, law enforcement groups worry there would be no way to weed them out in advance. The bill does include stiffer penalties for felons caught illegally carrying guns.

The bill would not prevent businesses from banning guns on their property, and federal background checks for some gun purchases would remain in place. Texas has no state requirements for background checks on private guns sales.

Texas has allowed people to carry handguns since 1995, and has been reducing the cost and training requirements for getting a license for the last decade.

Texas’s move to further loosen gun laws galled El Paso lawmakers, including the Democratic state representative Joe Moody, who on Sunday night delivered an emotional address on the house floor that recounted being in rooms with the governor and family members searching for loved ones after the Walmart shooting in 2019.

The 2021 legislative session is the first time state lawmakers have met in session since the attack that killed 23 people.

There were promises, Moody recalled, that the state would “take gun safety seriously” after the shooting. Authorities have said the shooter had targeted Mexicans in the border city.

“When the doors were closed I heard lots of promises,” Moody said. “I haven’t heard them since.”

… we have a small favour to ask. Through these challenging times, millions rely on the Guardian for independent journalism that stands for truth and integrity. Readers from 180 countries chose to support us financially more than 1.5 million times in 2020.

"You never act your age, in spirit, outlook, humor or perspective. But you do show the wisdom and sensibility that only 200 years' of extraordinary reporting can bring. One can only imagine what you will continue to grow into!" – Mary Garton, US

With your help, we will continue to provide high-impact reporting that can counter misinformation and offer an authoritative, trustworthy source of news for everyone. With no shareholders or billionaire owner, we set our own agenda and provide journalism that’s free from commercial and political influence. When it’s never mattered more, we can investigate and challenge without fear or favour.

Unlike many others, we have maintained our choice: to keep Guardian journalism open for all readers, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. We do this because we believe in information equality, where everyone deserves to read accurate news and thoughtful analysis. Greater numbers of people are staying well-informed on world events, and being inspired to take meaningful action.

We aim to offer readers a comprehensive, international perspective on critical events shaping our world – from the Black Lives Matter movement, to the new American administration, Brexit, and the world's slow emergence from a global pandemic. We are committed to upholding our reputation for urgent, powerful reporting on the climate emergency, and made the decision to reject advertising from fossil fuel companies, divest from the oil and gas industries, and set a course to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.

If there were ever a time to join us, it is now. Every contribution, however big or small, powers our journalism and sustains our future. Support the Guardian from as little as $1 – it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Article Categories:
Texas

Comments are closed.