UPDATE: Texas Senate Passes Constitutional Carry Bill

FRISCO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Governor Greg Abbott expressed confidence Tuesday, May 4 that the Texas legislature will pass a permit-less or constitutional-carry bill this session. “I think it can get across the finish line.”

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He said last week he would sign the legislation if it arrives at his desk.

The full Texas Senate could consider House Bill 1927 as early as Wednesday, May 5 after it was approved by a newly formed, special committee on Constitutional Issues.

The legislation already passed in the Texas House.

Governor Abbott made his comments in Frisco after taking part in a ground-breaking ceremony at the Omni PGA Frisco resort.

If approved, the legislation would allow Texans to carry a handgun in public without obtaining a permit or license, receiving training, and passing a test as required now.

The Governor told reporters that 20 other states already have constitutional-carry, and that it’s already allowed in Texas for long guns.

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He said he heard concerns about similar legislation years ago, before state lawmakers eased restrictions. “Remember when we passed open carry and campus-carry, people said it was going to be the ‘ok, corral.’ None of that happened. I don’t think there’s going to be any bad side effect to it, and I feel pretty good about it passing.”

Campus-carry allowed people to carry a concealed firearm on public universities and colleges as long as they were licensed.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate, told radio talk show host and former NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch last week that he was still a few votes shy of the number he needed to pass the bill, 18, but that he was continuing to work to build support for the legislation.

Many police chiefs, including Eddie Garcia of Dallas, previously held a news conference to oppose constitutional carry for handguns saying training people how to use firearms should still be required.

Late last week, police chiefs held another news conference at the Texas Capitol to voice their concerns about these House and Senate bills.

Jimmy Perdue, Chief of the North Richland Hills Police Department and First Vice President of the Texas Police Chiefs Association said, “Both of these bills in their current form would eliminate the current reasonable license to carry permitting process in favor of an unreasonable and unsafe permit-less carry authority. Texas has a long history of a very successful license to carry process.”

Democrats, including Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa have also rejected the legislation. “It’s a really improper use of our legislative process to appease the far-right wing of their party and the National Rifle Association.”

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Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West has repeatedly urged Republican leaders to pass HB 1927, saying it is among the top priorities by the party’s grass-roots members.