By Jack Fink

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – After nearly seven hours of debate, the Texas House has passed a Constitutional Carry bill by a vote of 84-56.

During the discussion Thursday, April 15, the lead author, Representative Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler. said under House Bill 1927, law-abiding Texans 21 and older would no longer need a license or permit to carry a handgun in public. “It’s time for Texas to join the 21 other states and pass common sense Constitutional Carry.”

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Schaefer said those eligible still won’t be able to carry their handguns in schools, sporting events, amusement parks, hospitals and jails.

Business and property owners can still keep people with handguns out.

A Democratic state lawmaker, Joe Moody of El Paso, criticized the measure, citing the deadly mass-shooting in his city two years ago. “I’m not anti-gun, I’m a gun owner like a lot of us here. But I’m also like most Texans,

Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike in that we don’t want felons to buy a gun without a background check.”

Schaefer replied, “Criminals don’t care about our gun laws and so they have an advantage over the vulnerable.”

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He said people will still need to pass a background check.

Also under the bill, residents would no longer need required training and to pass written and shooting proficiency tests.

Some police chiefs have opposed this, along with many Democrats.

Representative Celia Israel, D-Austin said, “Mr. Schaefer, you’re saying on one hand the training is valuable and helpful and on the other hand, waiting is an inconvenience.”

Schaefer responded, “I’m saying it’s not always an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death for some people.”

Tom Mannewitz, who founded the Targetmaster Indoor Shooting Center in Garland said he prefers the training requirement. “I like the fact to know if someone’s carrying a gun, that they’d have at least the minimum amount of training. It doesn’t take a lot to pass the test that Texas has, but at least they’ve had some training.”

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The House will give a final vote Friday, April 16 and then the bill heads to the State Senate.