The State of Texas is set to pass legislation that would allow handguns to be openly carried in public places.
Lawmakers in Austin Texas gave their approval in a majority vote on an open-carry handgun proposal. Texans with concealed carry licenses would be able to display their handguns in a belt or shoulder holster.
Texas is one of six States that currently does not allow the open carry policy.
The new measure could become law very quickly according to Governor Greg Abbott. The shift in policy came late on Friday as lawmakers gave their final approval in the capitol in Austin. Texas already allows the open-carry of rifles and shotguns.
Gov. Greg Abbott promised to sign the bill into law quickly: “Open Carry just passed in both the Texas House & Senate. Next destination: My Pen,” he said on Twitter. The measure will allow licensed Texans to openly carry in a shoulder holster or belt. Although Texas has long allowed open carry of rifles and shotguns, it is currently one of six states that does not allow open carry of handguns.
“We think Texas as being a gun happy state,” said Republican House sponsor Larry Phillips, “but we denied citizens the right that most other states afforded them. And so this was the time to do it.”
Texas Democrats opposed the bill, threatening to filibuster, but could not stop it. Sen. José Rodríguez said open carry threatened safety.
“I continue to believe this is a bad law, and I voted no. It’s simple; I do not believe the proliferation of handguns in public spaces, which have no purpose other than to injure or kill, is good policy,” Rodríguez said. “This is not the kind of civil society we want, and it is not one to which we should succumb.”
Under the new law, individuals with non-Texas concealed handgun licenses recognized by the state will also be allowed to open-carry.
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