AUSTIN, Texas (May 6, 2021) – Yesterday, the Texas Senate passed a “Constitutional Carry” bill that would make it legal for Texans to carry a concealed firearm without a license, and foster an environment hostile to federal gun control.
Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) filed House Bill 1927 (HB1927) on Feb. 12. The legislation would repeal Texas’ concealed carry licensing requirements and remove the need for government permission to carry a concealed firearm in the state. If enacted, Texas residents 21 and over would be able to carry a concealed firearm if not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun. Open carry is also allowed under the proposed law.
The state’s concealed carry permitting program would continue for those wanting a permit to carry in the state with reciprocity with Texas.
On May 5, the Senate passed HB1927 by a 20-11 vote with some amendments. The House previously passed HB1927 by an 87-58 vote.
The Senate amendments include a provision to prohibit permitless carry by people convicted of making a terroristic threat, deadly conduct, assault that causes bodily injury, or disorderly conduct with a firearm in the last five years. The Senate also struck a provision to expunge certain weapons-related charges from criminal records and added a provision to allow police to temporarily disarm a person who is detained.
EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL
While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the 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 such as passing HB1027 would lower barriers for those wanting 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.
HB1927 now goes back to the House for concurrence with the Senate amendments. If the House approves the Senate changes, the bill will go to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. If not, the bill will move to a conference committee to work out a compromise.