The Texas state legislature passed a bill to allow people to carry handguns without any license or training, The Texas Tribune reports.
The state Senate approved a bill to end a requirement requiring Texans to obtain a license to carry handguns in an 18-13 party-line vote.
The measure already passed the House 84-56 last week and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to sign the bill into law.
Only those prohibited under state or federal law from possessing a gun will be allowed to carry guns in public under the law.
At least 20 other states already have similar laws.
Bill removes licensing requirement:
The bill will remove a provision of the current law that requires residents to complete a number of steps to obtain a gun license.
Applicants currently have to submit fingerprints, complete four to six hours of training, pass a written exam, and pass a shooting proficiency test.
Texas already allowed open carry of rifles without a license.
“This bill, to me, is a restoration of the belief in and trust of our citizens,” said Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner. “We cannot allow another session to come and go where we pay lip service for the Second Amendment by failing to fully restore and protect the rights of citizens granted by the Constitution.”
Texas voters oppose:
Polls have found that 59% of Texans oppose permitless handgun carry but the measure is popular among 56% of Republicans.
Democrats warned that the new law will allow people to carry handguns without a background check.
“This will be the first time … that we will not look to training or background checks or law enforcement or the authorities to know who they are dealing with,” said Democratic state Sen. John Whitmire, calling it a “huge departure from where we’ve been before.”
“If I sit down at a restaurant with a gentleman or a woman who has a holster on their side and a gun in it, I want to know that person is well-trained in the use of that gun, and I know that police officers across the state of Texas want to understand that,” said Democratic state Sen. Beverly Powell. “We owe [law enforcement] every single tool in the toolbox, and a seat at our policy making table, as we make decisions like this one about public safety issues.”