The state 84th Legislative session begins on Jan. 13.
These bills, to include two addressing open carry and a third for constitutional carry, are backed by Republican lawmakers in the wake of Governor-elect Greg Abbott’s public announcement last week to sign such measures should they make it to his desk in Austin.
“If the state of Vermont not only has open-carry but it has constitutional-carry, and everyone talks about how blue the state of Vermont is, surely in the big ‘red state’ of Texas, we can have open-carry,” Rep. James White (R) told Texas Public Radio.
White is the sponsor of HB 164, which he entered into the early filing period for the next legislative session scheduled to begin in two months. That measure would restructure the state’s gun laws to allow those with concealed carry permits to also openly carry.
A second measure that has been filed, HB 106, sponsored by Rep. Dan Flynn (R) likewise would allow licensed open carry.
Texas is one of just six states that do not allow the public carry of modern handguns. This leaves lawful gun owners in the state who do not carry concealed with a permit the option of either arming themselves with a primitive black-powder handgun or a long arm such as a rifle or shotgun.
In addition to the host of budding open carry laws, Rep. Jonathan Strickland (R) has introduced HB 195 that would strike the state’s framework for a concealed carry permit entirely. This would allow all adults otherwise lawfully able to possess a firearm under federal and Texas laws to carry one concealed without a permit.