AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 29, 2016) – A “Constitutional Carry” bill filed for the 2017 legislative session would make it legal for Texans to carry a concealed firearm without a license, and foster an environment hostile to federal gun control.
Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) filed House Bill 375 (HB375) on Nov. 16. If passed into law, it would end Texas’ conceal carry licensing requirements and remove the need for government permission to carry a concealed firearm in the state. The new law reads in part:
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a person who is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm shall not be required to obtain any license to carry a handgun as a condition for carrying a handgun.
The legislation also provides legal protection from unreasonable police interference for those carrying a concealed weapon.
The mere possession or carrying of a handgun, openly or concealed, with or without a license issued under this subchapter, shall not constitute reasonable belief for a peace officer to disarm or detain an otherwise law-abiding person.
“Constitutional carry is a big step toward being able to exercise a natural right that has been infringed at all levels for far too long,” ShallNot.org policy lead Scott Landreth said.
While constitutional carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway. The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”
Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.
State actions like passage of HB375 will lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.