On Thursday, March 25, the Texas House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety will hear House Bill 1238, by Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg), House Bill 1911, by Rep. James White (R-Woodville), House Bill 1927, by Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), and House Bill 2900, by Rep. Cole Hefner (R-Mount Pleasant), NRA-backed permitless carry proposals that would allow law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun without a state-issued License To Carry (LTC).
The existing LTC law would not be repealed under these measures. Criminals who are prohibited from possessing firearms (i.e., felons, fugitives from justice, individuals committed by the courts for mental illness, domestic abusers) would still be barred from carrying guns. This legislation would not prevent the enforcement of any laws broken by criminals who misuse firearms.
The HSPS committee will meet starting at 10:30am, in Room E2.030, of the Texas Capitol. You do not need a COVID test to enter the Capitol or to attend the hearing, but you will be asked to wear a mask in the committee room except when testifying (note that protocols may change at any time).
Please make plans to attend this committee hearing and voice your support for these measures. You must enter the Capitol through the North Entrance (facing UT Campus). Parking is available at the Capitol Visitors Center Parking garage; for more information on the facility click here.
If you cannot attend the hearing, please submit written comments (up to 3,000 characters) to be made part of the public record in support of each bill, at the link provided here. You can submit written comments up until the time the committee adjourns on Thursday.
Lastly, please contact your State Representatives and urge them to co-author and support HB 1238, HB 1911, HB 1927, and HB 2900.
→ Permitless Carry for Texas: Not The Dramatic Policy Leap That Opponents Argue It Is
Texas currently allows lawfully-possessed long guns to be carried openly without a state-issued license, and handguns concealed in a motor vehicle, boat or recreational vehicle without a LTC. Law-abiding citizens can also carry handguns without a license on their own premises or on premises under their control.
→ Not Unprecedented: 18 Other States Have Similar Laws
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia & Wyoming currently allow law-abiding individuals to carry a handgun without a government-issued permit.
→ Crime Rates: The Arizona Experience
The state of Arizona is the most populated state with the longest track record on permitless carry. From 2010-2015, the years immediately preceding and following their 2011 law, the murder rate in the state dropped 29.7% and the robbery rate fell 14.2%. [Note: Experts caution that a direct, causal relationship does not exist between the state’s gun laws and crime rates.]
→ Residents Still Seeking Licenses in Permitless Carry States
Arizona’s experience here is instructive as well. In 2011, according to the U.S General Accountability Office, there were approximately 163,000 active carry permits in the state, which had a population of 4.5 million at the time (3.6% of the adult population licensed). According to Arizona DPS, as of February 2021, there are 388,716 active carry permits in the state, which had a population in 2020 of 7.279 million (5.3% of the adult population licensed). In addition to continuing to voluntarily seek out training, honest citizens recognize the benefits of acquiring and maintaining a carry license – namely, reciprocity with other states when traveling and exemption from background check requirements when purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer.