The Texas Senate could open debate Tuesday on a constitutional carry bill that already passed the House.
As of last week, the bill still did not have the 18 votes needed to vote on it, but Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says permitless handguns was an important enough topic to move it forward anyway.
“You don't need a permit to have a gun in your car, in your business, in your home, you can walk around your property. The only area that we require a permit is if you want to carry it on the street, so that's what we're changing. That would be total constitutional carry in the state,” he told radio host Dana Loesch.
Several amendments are proposed to gain support from law enforcement.
“If you're a felon with a serious crime, you're not allowed to carry a gun now under the law. If we catch you, it's going to be a five-year minimum sentence. We think that will stop some of the gang bangers and some of the hardened criminals from wanting to carry,” says Patrick.
But the Houston Police union's Ray Hunt questions why fix something that is not broken.
“About 28,000 convictions last year for serious offenses and only 114 were license to carry people, which means the vetting process is working and we think that should continue to be the case,” he says.
“We're simply asking to make sure you have a background check done to make sure you weren't released from a mental hospital three weeks ago, etc.”
Patrick says one of the amendments would ensure all LTC rules and regulations would be made readily available to all gun owners regardless.
“It would be on our Department of Public Safety website,” he says. “So people can go on there if they want to carry and don't want a permit, at least they should know the law. We recommend it to them.”
Gov. Greg Abbott has said he will sign constitutional carry if it reaches his desk.