Permitless Carry of Handguns Awaits Fate in Texas Senate

A bill that would make permits optional to carry a handgun has already passed in the House.

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In the final weeks of the 87th Texas Legislature, the future of permitless carry is in the hands of the Texas Senate. A bill that would make permits optional to carry a handgun has already passed in the House.

"There are still not enough votes in the Senate to pass a permitless carry bill," Sherry Sylvester, senior advisor to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), said in a statement. "On Friday, Lt. Gov. Patrick established some additional options to move a bill forward. He will continue meeting with law enforcement, gun rights stakeholders and senators on this issue to find consensus and the votes needed to pass."

One of those options includes a new special committee: the Senate Special Committee on Constitutional Issues. It is being chaired by state Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown).

"I am proud to chair the newly created Senate Committee on Constitutional Issues and look forward to hearing HB 1927 to protect the constitutional rights of Texans to carry firearms for their personal protection and the protection of their families," Schwertner said in a statement.

There are five Republicans and two Democrats on the committee.

"No one that currently cannot pass a background check to get a carry license would be legal to carry,” said state Sen. Bob Hall (R-Rockwall), one of the members of the committee.

This bill would not require training, since licenses would be optional.

“Someone chooses to have a weapon they have the responsibility to make sure that they are handling it the way it should be handled,” Hall said.

The bill faces challenges from law enforcement.

pointed out person to person gun sales.

“You don’t go through that background check and you don't have that little fact check that says who the person is and what’s happened,” said Det. Frederick Frazier, chairman of the Dallas Police Officer’s Political Action Committee.

He raised concerns about training without the required license.

“I just think that it makes kind of a lot of us feel better not only, you know, as a police officer, but as a citizen to know that somebody has done their due diligence to do their background, to do their ability to train and retention of that weapon, and they should be carrying if they so want to, but only if they went through that,” Frazier said.

Frazier also said the House bill limited how police could approach someone openly carrying.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told NBC 5's media partner The Dallas Morning News his office was looking at all of the bills as they work their way through the legislature.

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