AUSTIN — Texans will soon have a greater ability to defend themselves and their families, thanks to a soon-to-be state law.
On Monday, the Texas Legislature finalized House Bill 1927, or constitutional carry, to protect citizens’ Second Amendment rights to self-defense. Under the law, Texans 21 or older—who aren’t otherwise prohibited from owning a gun—may carry a handgun without permission from the government.
The self-protection bill has had an eventful journey in the Republican-controlled Legislature over the past couple of months.
In mid-April, the proposed law was first approved in the House of Representatives by a vote of 87-58. The bill then traveled to the Senate, where it initially appeared it may face potential obstacles.
The Senate, rather than immediately considering the House-approved bill, proposed a completely new law, confusing many citizen activists.
Adding to the confusion, the Senate then sent their new version forward in the legislative process, while sending the House version to their newly formed Special Committee on Constitutional Issues—which they created just for this particular bill.
The Senate’s actions left citizens wondering which proposal was actually being considered and why senators were over-complicating the process.
After pressure from citizens, the Senate ultimately scrapped their own proposal and instead chose to send the House version forward to the full chamber for a vote.
Back in the House, Democrat state representatives attempted to kill the bill with parliamentary maneuvers, but the bill’s author, State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler), requested the Legislature appoint a conference committee—a panel of 10 lawmakers from the House and Senate—to work out the changes in the proposed law.
On Sunday, that committee completed their work and released their final version of the law. By Monday evening, the House and Senate both approved the final document.
The bill will now head to the governor’s desk to be signed into state law and will make Texas the 21st state in the nation to enact a constitutional carry law.
Rep. Schaefer said this bill is about empowering law-abiding Texans to protect themselves and their families from violent criminals.
“The simple truth is that those that intend evil, those who are criminals, don’t care what [the state Legislature] does in this building. They haven’t in the past, and they won’t in the future. We are charged with defending the freedoms that are owed to Texans and guaranteed by the Constitution,” Schaefer told fellow lawmakers in his closing speech on Monday.
“I want to stop tragedies. I am against evil acts. But my faith is with law-abiding Texans, who are the first to respond because they are there,” Schaefer continued. “It is that man or woman that owes the duty to themselves, to their children, to the families, to the people they are with, to defend themselves. How long before someone with authority shows up? How long? Who’s responsible for me and my family?”
“Law-abiding citizens carrying a handgun have to follow a narrow path,” he concluded. “After this bill passes, they will still have to follow a narrow path. But a person who wants to harm someone goes wherever they want, whenever they want. The Second Amendment says ‘the right to keep and bear arms,’ and law-abiding citizens should have the constitutional right to bear arms.”
After the governor’s signature, the law will take effect on September 1.