On Thursday, the Texas House gave final approval to House Bill 1177 by a vote of 102-29. HB 1177 is NRA-backed legislation sponsored by Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) which protects residents from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun without a license while evacuating an area during a declared state or local disaster, and while returning to that area.
Texans should be able to protect themselves and their loved ones, and to legally transport their lawfully-owned handguns, if they are evacuating by means other than their personal vehicles or their own watercraft during a declared disaster. They should not be denied the ability to take certain firearms with them for fear of breaking the law and be forced to leave them behind for potential looters. This bill is especially important for law-abiding residents of a state that is prone to evacuations due to hurricanes, floods and wildfires.
House Bill 1177 would offer temporary protection to honest Texans whose licenses are lost or damaged due to flood, wind or fire, and to those who don’t have a license because they never envisioned a need to transport or carry their handguns outside the home. The proposed legislation is similar to a Florida law, which has been in effect since 2015.