After dodging questions on the partisan issue, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott revealed Tuesday that he would sign legislation allowing Texans to carry handguns in public without a license.
House Bill 1927 won passage in the Texas House on a largely party-line vote and is set for a hearing in the upper chamber on Thursday. The measure would allow anyone over the age of 21 who can legally possess a firearm to carry a handgun in public without a permit. Current Texas law allows residents 21 or older to carry a handgun after completing the required training and criminal background check to obtain a license to carry.
“I support it, and I believe it should reach my desk, and we should have ‘constitutional carry’ in Texas,” Abbott told North Texas radio host Rick Roberts. He also expressed his belief that the bill would pass the Senate.
Senate rules require 18 votes for a bill to reach the floor for a vote in most cases. If the legislation attracts no Democrat support, it will require unanimous Republican support. Several Senate Republicans have remained silent on the issue. Last week Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, expressed skepticism that the permitless carry bill would make it to the governor’s desk.
“If we have the votes to pass a permitless carry bill off the Senate floor, I will move it,” Patrick said in a statement. “At this point we don’t have the votes on the floor to pass it.”
Abbott had previously responded to questions about the bill by emphasizing his commitment to emergency items: expanding broadband internet access, limiting the ability of cities to cut police force budgets, offering protections from lawsuits for businesses during the pandemic, limiting bail for those accused or previously convicted of violent crimes, improving “election integrity” and winterizing Texas’ power systems.
The NRA and GOA have both come out in vocal support of the legislation. It has, however, also attracted significant backlash from religious leaders, law enforcement officials and Texans across the state.