The Texas Senate has given preliminary approval to allowing licensed open carry of handguns in the state.
The first major gun-rights vote of the legislative session came Monday after more than two hours of debate. A final vote to send the bill to the House is expected Tuesday.
Texas has allowed concealed carry of handguns since 1995, but a recent push for open carry has been taken up by new Republican leaders such as Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Texas is just one of six states that ban open carry of handguns. Abbott says he'll sign an open carry bill into law if passed.
Gun-rights groups call the bill an important Second Amendment protection. Opponents say openly carrying guns intimidates the general public.