As the rise in mass shootings across the nation reaches an all-time high, Texas moves to allow people to obtain a handgun without a license, background check, and training.
The removal of the major gun restrictions was approved Monday by the Texas Legislature. Governor Greg Abbott says that he will approve the measure despite the grievances of many law enforcement groups who claim the new measure would endanger both civilians and the police.
Gun control groups are also advocating against the measure given the states’ recent mass shootings.
Supporters of unrestricted gun ownership claim that the bill will allow the public to better defend themselves and will remove obstacles that infringe on the constitutional right to bear arms.
Texas will be the most populous state joining almost a dozen others that allow unrestricted access to handguns.
A spokesman for the National Rifle Association called the new bill the “most significant” gun-rights measure in the state’s history.
“A right requiring you to pay a tax or obtain a government permission slip is not a right at all,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
The Texas Legislature is also considering making Texas a “Second Amendment sanctuary state” that will be immune to any new federal gun laws. Gov. Abbott promised to sign that bill into law once it has been approved by state lawmakers.
The current law allows rifles to be carried without a license. Under the new bill, anyone 21 years of age and older can carry a handgun as long as there are no felony criminal convictions. Even with the restriction of felony convictions, law enforcement worries that without a state background check, there will be no way to determine who has felony convictions.
“When the doors were closed I heard a lot of promises. I haven’t heard them since,” said Democratic state Rep. Joe Moody referring to the Walmart shooting in 2019 in El Paso that killed 23 people when state lawmakers promised to take gun control seriously.