HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Texans over the age of 21 with a clean record will likely soon be able to carry a handgun without a license.
Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign the Firearm Carry Act of 2021 known as "constitutional carry" by conservatives. The measure allows permitless guns, which means you don't need to have the training, pass a written exam, or be fingerprinted to have one. The bill does prohibit convicted felons and violent family offenders from possessing weapons. It also requires the Texas Department of Public Safety to offer a free, online course in gun safety, but doesn't require anyone to take the course.
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Gordon Taylor owns Black Gold Guns and Ammo in Houston. He supports gun rights. He told ABC13 that any new gun owner should take a training course, even if the law doesn't require it.
"People need to be educated. They need to know the laws," said Taylor. " They need to know how to be safe with their guns."
The Houston Police Department released the following statement about the bill.
"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."
Liz Hanks is with the group Moms Demand Action. She's a Houston mother and real estate attorney who fought hard against HB 1927. She fears it will result in more gun violence.
"Now, we have a situation where pretty much anyone on the honor system can choose to carry a loaded handgun in public," said Hanks. "It just makes us less safe."
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Texas' permitless carry could be crime deterrent, proponents argue