The United States and being armed unfortunately go hand-in-hand. This directly reflects on the rate of crimes committed with guns, something that has been heightened in the months following the easing of COVID restrictions across the country. Despite this, the Texas legislature has recently passed a bill repealing any requirements for carrying a handgun. 

The proposed bill ultimately passed on Wednesday (May 5) in an 18-13 vote among party lines. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has already vocalized support for the bill and has declared he intends to sign it once it reaches his desk.

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The current law to open carry requires fingerprints, four hours of training, and the passing of a written exam and shooting proficiency test to be armed. The state notably does not require any sort of license to carry. Charles Schwertner, a Republican state senator, viewed the bill as “a restoration of the belief in and trust of our citizens."

He continued, “We cannot allow another session to come and go where we pay lip service for the second amendment by failing to fully restore and protect the rights of citizens granted by the constitution.”

Data collected from polls suggest that most Texas residents do not support unlicensed carry, with 59% of those polled in a University of Texas poll saying they do not support the policy. Beverly Powell, a Democratic senator, voiced safety concerns from some law enforcement groups. 

“If I sit down at a restaurant with a gentleman or a woman who has a holster on their side and a gun in it, I want to know that person is well-trained in the use of that gun,” she said. Texas has notably seen a few mass shootings in the last several years, including two mass shootings in August 2019 that left a total of 30 people dead. 

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