AUSTIN, Texas (May 25, 2021) – On Monday, the Texas Senate gave final approval to 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.

The House and Senate passed different versions of the measure and HB1927 went to a conference committee to hammer out a compromise. On Sunday night, the House passed the final version 82-62 and the Senate approved it by a 17-13 vote. The bill will now go to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for his consideration. He has indicated he will sign it.

The compromise bill included some Senate amendments to appease law enforcement, including striking a provision that would have prohibited police from questioning someone simply because they are carrying a weapon. The proposed law would also enhance criminal penalties for felons and family violence offenders caught carrying firearms.

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 “constitutional carry” 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.

WHAT’S NEXT

Gov. Abbott will have 20 days (excluding Sundays) from the date HB1927 is transmitted to his office to sign or veto the bill. If he takes no action, it will become law without his signature.

Mike Maharrey