AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas police chiefs took aim at Constitutional Carry bills making their way through the state legislature and supported by the Texas Republican Party.
During a news conference on the steps of the Texas Capitol Tuesday, April 13, police chiefs, including Eddie Garcia of Dallas, voiced their opposition to House Bill 1911 that would make it easier for adults to carry handguns in public and end the requirements to be licensed, trained, and pass a written and shooting proficiency tests.READ MORE: AMC Theatres To Offer Open Caption Showtimes In More Than 100 U.S. Markets
Those convicted of felonies and domestic violence would not be eligible.
Chief Garcia said, “Gun owners have a duty to ensure that their guns are handled safely and a duty to know applicable laws. The licensing process is the best way to ensure this message is conveyed.”
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the Texas Gun Experience in Grapevine, the Chair of the Texas GOP, retired Lt. Col. Allen West, said Texans can already carry long guns in public without a permit and that passing a federal background check should be all that’s required.
“I think everyone who comes in here who wants to buy a firearm wants to get properly trained on it. But that doesn’t mean their rights to have that firearm and carry that firearm should be infringed. That’s why we don’t need to have permits.”
Texas Democrats have opposed the bills and instead have filed legislation that would increase gun restrictions.READ MORE: Republicans In Texas Advance New Congressional Map That Would Tighten Their Slipping Grip
After last week’s deadly mass shooting in Bryan, Texas, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued a statement that said, “I ask every Texas leader to stand with me in calling for the common-sense gun reform that will keep people safe. Texas families cannot wait any longer.”
Police chiefs say boaters need to obtain an education certificate and that those who cut hair must have a license, and that now, when violent crime is rising, is not the time to loosen gun laws.
San Marcos Police Chief Stan Standridge, the Immediate Past President of the Texas Police Association said, “At least with the license to carry permit, citizens must demonstrate basic knowledge and awareness of laws. And the course now even teaches how to de-escalate to forego use of firearms to begin with.”
West though said authorities need to ensure the background check system used for most firearms purchases needs to be accurate. “I think what the police chiefs should be talking about is making sure that the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) system doesn’t fail us anymore.”
House Bill 1911 has been approved in committee and now heads to the full House.MORE NEWS: 'My Nerves Are Still Rattled': Passenger Aboard Amtrak Train Talks Crash
Similar bills in the Senate have been referred to committees.