House Bill 1927 by Rep. Matt Schaefer is referred to as “constitutional carry” by its proponents. “Permitless carry” is a better descriptor of the policy. Essentially, it will allow Texans 21 and over (or at least 18 for those in the military) to carry handguns, openly or concealed, without a license.
- Texans will no longer be required to obtain a Concealed Handgun License, and will no longer require any safety training, to carry a firearm.
A handgun that is carried openly must be kept holstered. The law requires the DPS to post a free online course on its website that teaches proper firearm handling and safety. Private property owners may choose to not allow the carrying of handguns on their premises, but Department of Public Safety (DPS) signage rules apply for places that are open to the public.
Law enforcement agencies across Texas, including the Houston Police Department, opposed the measure and say the law will make their jobs far more dangerous. Commander Jessica Anderson of HPD testified against the bill: “Major cities are encountering ridiculous amounts of violent crime these days,” she said, adding that the bill could “exacerbate” the problem. “We vehemently oppose any bill that does away with background checks and training as currently required.” Not a week goes by where there’s not news of another shooting in a road incident.”
After HB 1927 was passed, the Houston Police Department released the following statement:
The Houston Police Department is disappointed in the passage of HB 1927. HPD supports gun ownership by those legally licensed to do so under existing law. This bill eliminate(s) licensing requirements for handguns. The current licensing process is not difficult and provides background checks and safety training. These safeguards are currently in place to keep handguns away from dangerous individuals who have no legal right to carry them. The required training ensures responsible, informed gun ownership. HB 1927 remove(s) those safeguards.