AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – After a Constitutional Carry bill initially stalled in the Texas Senate, a new special committee on Constitutional Issues formed by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, approved the measure Thursday evening after holding a hearing that went on for most of the day.
It will head to the full Senate next week.READ MORE: New Memorial Wall Honors Dallas K9 Officers, Mounted Horses That Died In Line Of Duty
The legislation, House Bill 1927, was approved by the full House.
It would allow those who pass a background check and over the age of 21 to carry a handgun without having a license or training as required now.
The committee’s Chair, Senator Charles Schwertner, R-Bryan, who supports the bill, outlined it during the hearing. “HB 1927 recognizes the U.S. Constitution as our permit to carry. It allows all law-abiding adults to carry a handgun for the protection of themselves and their families.”
Senator Juan Hinojosa, D-Edinburg raised concerns. “Quite frankly, what I think you’re doing puts an officer in danger because under this bill, anybody quite frankly can have a gun and carry a gun in a holster.”
The hearing, which began at 9am, attracted nearly 200 people on both sides of the issue.
One supporter who’s serving in the military said, “I want the committee to pass Constitutional Carry so that active-duty personnel don’t lose their 2nd Amendment rights when they move to Texas.”READ MORE: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz Spends Over $240,000 On Facebook Advertising In Last Two Months
A pastor who opposes the legislation said, “As faith leaders, we’re the ones who bury the dead, who pray with and console the grieving families and we are present in our communities shattered by gun violence, and we’ve had enough.”
While most Democrats oppose the measure, there’s a lot of political pressure on Patrick and Senate Republicans from State Party Chair Allen West to get this passed.
Last week, a senior advisor to the Lt. Governor said there weren’t enough votes in the Senate to pass the bill.
On the Rick Roberts Show on Newstalk 820 WBAP Thursday, the Lt. Governor said they are still several votes short but that there may be one or two amendments made.
This week, Governor Abbott broke his silence on the bill and told Roberts that he’s backing it. “I support it and I believe it should reach my desk and we should have Constitutional Carry in Texas.”
A variety of Texas police chiefs, including Eddie Garcia of Dallas, oppose the bill.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa told me the Governor knows this. “When he’s given us rhetoric all the time, but you know, the Democrats are not for law enforcement, he ignores the great majority of police chiefs in the state of Texas, we’re saying this is a bad law.”MORE NEWS: 2 Teens Arrested, Warrant Issued For 16-Year-Old Connected To Multiple Robberies
The Lt. Governor said he believes the bill is a good piece of legislation and that he hopes it will have the support from all 18 Republican Senators.